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You can now also read a more up-to-date interview with ing. Franco Lambertini from August/September 2002, published in Motociclismo d'Epoca and translated into English.

Interview with Mr. Franco Lambertini on Moto Morini in "Motociclismo",
June 1999

Big news. The make "Moto Morini" has been purchased by Morini Franco Motori and is ready to be launched again. The first results we will see at the coming "Salon of Milan" (autumn 1999): there will be new engines for scooters and motorbikes. At a later stage also complete motorbikes will be build. We have followed the ups and downs of Moto Morini with interest, but sometimes also with concern. Also we have regretted bad management of the make of Bologna in the last years of its existence and we've seen how the make ended up in the freezer. Then finally, at the end of April (1999) we heard the news on which so many had been waiting.
The name Moto Morini has been bought by Morini Franco Motori (founded by the cousin of Alfonso Morini) and it will be brought back to life, much to the pleasure of all its fans. But in which manner?

We have asked this to Franco Lambertini the technician, who connected his name with so much passion to the firm from Bologna (then Moto Morini). Firstly he developed the last single Corsaro Regolarita (enduro) and secondly, the famous 72o V-twin of the 3 1/2 and similar bikes. When the end came for Moto Morini (back in l989), no one at Cagiva or Ducati had the least bit of interest for Moto Morini, which made Lambertini leave for Piaggio. Today he has, more enthusiastic than ever before, returned to the family (at Morini Franco Motori) as a technical director.

I am glad and would like to explain (with emphasis) that this is a serious matter. We have planned the future plans and work like crazy to achieve our goals. The name Moto Morini will be used at first for engines, but not for the 50ccm ones, those will keep the name Franco Morini. We have a study going on at the moment for engines for scooters and bikes, starting at 125 ccm, all four stroke.

the new 125cc watercooled engine

Is all of this possible with the present industrial structure?

The factory has been expanded and renewed and we've made a lot of investments. We are well structured and we are ready for this new challenge.

When can we expect a complete motorbike?

It is our dream, because we are all very fond of Moto Morini. The intention is there and we have programs which should bring us back into the small class (50ccm) first and later into the larger classes. We should be able to build these engines in our present factory, but we will probably look for a different location. One thing is clear: we shall do nothing to compete with firms who we now (or in the future will) supply with engines.

There are still many fans of Moto Morini. Do you think you can help them with spare parts?

We have bought the name, not the spares which are still with Ducati. They will keep supplying them and it seems to me that the situation on the spares is still good. We did however, consider the possibility to take over the remaining spares, but all was in such a bad state, that it wasn't worth the money. Ducati never bothered about the Morini stuff. They treated Morini like "the dog in the church".

And the models, the prototypes, are they still with Ducati?

There are still engines, like the 500 Turbo and other prototypes, but they are in a very poor state. They will remain there.

Today, there is great interest in so-called "Retro bikes". Would it be possible to re-start production of the Corsaro?

It would be fun, and I am convinced that they would sell well. Unfortunately the machines and presses from those days don't exist anymore. Re-start of the production of the Corsarino (Corsaro?) would ask an investment of several billion Italian Lira. At this moment that is not possible.

Of what does the present production consist of?

We have an engine for mini-bikes of which we produce some 7,500 per year. Than there is the type S5 for mini-cross of which there is a high demand on the American market: last year we sold 25,000. Then there are three 50 ccm engines for scooters, two air-cooled and one water-cooled, later a 100 ccm will be produced. Also we have launched the new 125 ccm four stroke for motorbikes, single camshaft, four valves and six gears. The first engines of this project (which was first started by Piaggio-Gilera and after lots of research finished by us), are already sold to HRD for a new Super Motard. In total at present we have a production of some 80,000 engines on a yearly basis. But we will grow, even though competition is strong, specially from the far East, as those factories can sell to much lower prices.

Who are your main customers, and which companies will be added in the future?

We mainly work for Atala, Malagutti, ltaljet and various manufacturers of smaller bikes (mini-bikes? - CS). Also for some that produce four wheelers, like the French Ligier.  For the future we have new contracts.

Translation: CS (Italian - Dutch)
TK (Dutch - English)

Note: the new 125cc engine mentioned in this article is now used by HRD in France and Simson in Germany.

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