Ivano Beggio Dies at 73

“He placed passion at the service of his skills. He was like a father in racing to me,” says two-time WorldSBK Champion Max Biaggi of Ivano Beggio.

Sentiments like Biaggi’s were shared across those closest with Beggio, the man who took over his dad’s bicycle company Aprilia in 1968 and turned the focus towards motorized two-wheelers, including scooters and performance-based motorcycles.

Beggio passed away Tuesday, March 13, 2018, at the age of 73, after battling a long illness.

Ivano Beggio Dies at 73 on March 13 2018
Ivano Beggio

He led Aprilia in 1985 during its debut racing in the World Championship 250 class, and the brand helped some of the most known names in motorcycle racing become champions, including Max Biaggi, Marco Simoncelli, Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Alvaro Bautista, Loris Capirossi, Marco Melandri, Manuel Poggiali and Alessandro Gramigni.

Beggio was at the helm when Aprilia introduced the sportbike-changing atmosphere RSV Mille in 1998 – Aprilia’s first 1000cc sportbike that laid the foundation not only for the modern day RSV4, but also the Tuono, Falco, Caponord and Futura.

Beggio remained at the controls of Aprilia for a few years after Piaggio Group took over (2004), but then retired. His influence was crucial for Aprilia’s record of 294 Grand Prix wins from 1987 through the present (most wins of any European manufacturer in the history of World Championship motorcycle racing (GP, SBK, Off-Road).

Biaggi began his racing career with Aprilia in 1992 under Beggio’s leadership: “Ivano Beggio was part of my life as an athlete – a sort of father in racing to me. He gave me his trust and a competitive bike when, after winning the European championship, also on Aprilia, I was little more than a boy.

“His was a brave choice, but also intelligent. And these are the two aspects that I remember most clearly about Ivano Beggio – knowing how to place a lot of passion at the service of his skills in order to always find the strength and energy for an extra step. This was also instrumental in achieving my many wins with Aprilia.”

Roberto Colaninno, CEO and Managing Director of the Piaggio Group, says: “Ivano Beggio succeeded in combining the skills and courage of an entrepreneur with creativity and a genuine passion for motorcycles. He was a visionary ahead of his time and the extraordinary combination of these factors allowed him to create, practically from nothing, one of the most brilliant stories in the Italian motorcycle industry, making a dream come true. Continuing to race and improve the Aprilia brand around the world is the best way to honor his memory.”

Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Manager, also offered comment: “You need to think about the champions that Aprilia has groomed and the victories it has collected to understand the importance of Ivano Beggio’s project. Thinking about challenging the Japanese on the track, going up against the largest manufacturers in the world starting from zero and in the end winning means putting mind and soul together. Great management skills and a lot of love for our world.”

Ivano Beggio Bio (courtesy of Piaggio Group)

Ivano Beggio, born in 1944, began his passion for two wheels in his father’s Aprilia handmade bicycle factory, innovating and diversifying production, with the introduction of motorcycles and scooters.

In 1975, he established a small team for the production of racing motorcycles which, thanks to technical-productive innovation, soon made a name for itself, so much that it won the Italian motocross championship in the 125 and 250 cc classes in 1977.

From 1980, Aprilia began to mass produce small engine motorcycles (50 and 125 cc), then launching highly successful, aesthetically and technologically innovative models on the market for urban mobility: in 1991, the Scarabeo, the first high-wheel scooter on the European market; in 1992, the first two-stroke scooter and motorcycle with a catalytic muffler; in 1993, the first scooter with a registration plate; in 1998 it entered the large engine capacity motorcycle sector with the RSV Mille.

In World Championship GP Motorcycle Racing, where it made its début in 1985 in the 250 class, Aprilia took world class champions to success the likes of Max Biaggi, Marco Simoncelli, Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Alvaro Bautista, Loris Capirossi, Marco Melandri, Manuel Poggiali and Alessandro Gramigni.

With 294 Grand Prix races won in World Championship GP Motorcycle Racing from 1987 to the present, Aprilia holds the record for the most wins of any European manufacturer in the history of maximum motorcycle competition.

These race wins are joined by no less than 54 world titles:

  • 38 in the World Motorcycle Championship (20 in the 125 class and 18 in the 250 class)
  • 7 in Superbike (double Rider/Manufacturer title in 2010, 2012 and 2014, Manufacturer in 2013)
  • 9 in the Off Road disciplines (7 in Supermoto and 2 in Trial)

The Aprilia trophy case also includes the 2005 Superstock 1000 FIM Cup, won with the RSV4 RF ridden by Lorenzo Savadori, currently riding an Aprilia in World Superbike alongside Eugene Laverty.