MV Agusta’s Castiglioni: Career Bio

Claudio Castiglioni – 11/22/1946-08/17/2011

“Motorcycles make us dream. They have different colors, they have different sounds. They have shapes that sometimes show what inspired their designers. Sometimes these creations are real works of art that turn the designer into an artist.” – Claudio Castiglioni

Claudio Castiglioni was born Nov. 22, 1946, and died of illness on Aug. 17, 2011 at 64-years old.

Claudio and Gianfranco Castiglioni inherited the Cagiva Company from their father Giovanni in 1978. From 1950 to 1978 Cagiva produced small metal parts but Giovanni’s sons were more interested in motorcycles.

Cagiva made successes in 500GP in the 2-stroke era and also in the Paris-Dakar race with its offroad machines. In 1985 Cagiva bought Bologna firms Ducati and Moto Morini followed by Husqvarna in 1987 and MV Agusta in 1991.

After achieving great success particularly with the Monster model and on the race tracks with the 916-996-998 models Castiglioni sensed that there’d be a V90 onslaught aimed at Ducati.

In 1996 he started selling off Ducati shares which enabled a 1997 launch of the 750cc MV Agusta F4 (in production by 1999). In 1998 the remaining Ducati shares were sold and Aprilia, Honda and Suzuki started their liquid-cooled V-twin fight back against Ducati both on the roads and race tracks resulting in a less dominating Ducati presence as Castiglioni had predicted.

Cagiva then started buying Suzuki twin engines to power its Raptor range rather than Ducati engines which had been the case in the eighties. Cagiva was to re-create the Monster success with the Raptor whilst MV Agusta was to re-create the 916 success with the F4.

This never quite happened and the MV Brutale came and the Cagiva Raptor all but went. Change in ownership and financial ups and downs culminated in the sale of a healthy Husqvarna to BMW in 2007 which enabled 100% effort into MV Agusta again for a refresh which resulted in Harley-Davidson buying the MV Agusta holding company in 2009 injecting lots of fresh R&D cash.

This resulted in the new 1000cc and 675cc engines that represent MV Agusta anno 2011 one year after Castiglioni bought MV Agusta back from Harley-Davidson for the symbolic sum of one Euro.

Claudio Castiglioni will be remembered for his great contribution to motorcycling in the last 30 years. His son Giovanni Castiglioni had already taken over the day-to-day running of MV Agusta along with Massimo Bordi so the company is presently in very good hands.

Claudio Castiglioni