Sad news to motorcycle lovers and Aprilia fans: Ivano Beggio, historic president of Aprilia and also known as “Mr. Aprilia”, died today at his home in Italy after battling long illness. The former Aprilia president worked with the Italian manufacturer until 2006 and linked his name to some of the greatest moments in Aprilia’s history.
Beggio took over the helm of the company after his father, in 1968, and transformed the company from a bicycle manufacturer into a motorcycle and scooter manufacturer during the 1970’s. Under his supervision, Aprilia grew exponentially – in the 90’s production passed from 50.000 units to nearly 300.000 units! – and became a well renowned brand all over the World after setting their sights in motorcycle racing.
Ivano Beggio’s passion for motorcycle racing led Aprilia to conquer numerous titles, and he was also the name behind the early success of riders such as Max Biaggi, Marco Simoncelli, Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Alvaro Bautista, Loris Capirossi, Marco Melandri, Manuel Poggiali and Alessandro Gramigni. And this is just to name a few.
He envisioned Aprilia racing at world level and took his brand to compete in World Grand Prix Championship and World Superbike.
In the top class of Grand Prix racing, Aprilia first entered with a two-cylinder machine, still in the two-stroke era, and later competed in MotoGP with the RS3 prototype better known for its three-cylinder engine and exotic sound note. In the lower classes of 125 and 250 cc, Aprilia dominated and won riders and manufacturer titles.
In World Superbike the Noale factory also found a way to win races. First with the twin-cylinder RSV Mille, with Troy Corser as the main rider, a motorcycle that led the way to the RSV4 that Aprilia races since 2009 until today, but with a V4 engine, with which Aprilia managed to secure riders and manufacturer titles.
Right after buying Moto Guzzi and Laverda by the end of the 1990’s, Ivano Beggio encountered financial problems, and after being pushed by the banks, he finally sold all three brands in 2004 to the Piaggio Group. While he wasn’t the owner of the brand anymore, Roberto Colaninno, president of Piaggio Group, made sure Beggio stayed within the brand and named him honorary president of Aprilia, a position he maintained until 2006.
Max Biaggi, who began his racing career with Aprilia in 1992 under Ivano Beggio leadership, had this to say about is passing: “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, also spoke about this tragic news: “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, who nowadays takes the Aprilia brand to the top of world motorcycle racing in MotoGP, also offered a 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”.