Saturday, June 24, 2006

MV Agusta's bike named best sportbike in the world

MV Agusta's latest superbike, the Tamburini 1000, was named by Cycle World magazine as the best sportbike in the world. The superbike was introduced in 2005 and named after its creator, Massimo Tamburini, who previously worked for Moto Guzzi, and most recently Ducati.

This is the same MV Agusta that was dumped in December 2005 by the current Proton management for a token euro (RM4). The previous Proton management paid 70 million euro (RM500m) in December 2004 for the 57 percent stake in the heavily indebted company.

Proton sold MV Agusta to Gevi SpA, a Genoa-based investment company, which according to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was set up specifically to buy Agusta.

"Why was this company set up to buy up Agusta long before we know Agusta is up for sale?" Mahathir asked at a special talk-cum-dialogue session organised by 27 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the at the Melawati Country Club, Taman Melawati, Ulu Klang today.

The hall was packed with standing room only as early as 9am and the Tun did not disappoint his audience comprising a cross-section of society, particularly the Malay elite including former cabinet ministers, academicians, Islamic scholars, Umno veterans, and the so-called Young Turks from the opposition Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) led by deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa and parti KeAdilan representatives. More than 70 percent of the audience are Umno members.

Mahathir wondered how did they (present Proton management) identify these people who wanted to buy Agusta, who are their advisors and why it was sold for a normal sum of one euro?

For the record, MV Agusta began as an aircraft manufacturer. They produced their first prototype, ironically called "Vespa". in 1945. After learning of Piaggio's scooter of the same name, it was changed to MV98.

The company successfully manufactured small-displacement, quintessential cafe' racer style motorcycles (mostly 125-150cc) through the 1950s and 60s. Later, a 250cc followed by a smart 350cc twin were produced, and a 600cc four-cylinder evolved into a 750cc which is still extremely valuable today.

The company stopped producing motorcycles in 1980, but the Agusta company continued on with its successful helicopter business.

In 1997, MV Agusta was purchased by Cagiva, who manufactured the new MV motorcycles. The new range were four-cylinder 750cc sports machines (the F4 range), which include a series of limited production run models, such as the SPR (Special Production Racing) models which was featured in the movie "Robot".

In 2004, they introduced their first 1000cc bike, they also produce a range of 750 and 910 "naked" bikes called the Brutale. Production is somewhat limited, as it is the policy of the company to produce an elite machine similar to Ferrari in motor cars.

In recent publications, the MV has been highly praised as one of the best handling motorcycles ever created.

This is the company that Proton (current management) found it fit to sell for a token one euro to an investment company set up specifically to buy Agusta.

Tun Dr Mahathir is still awaiting proper and specific answers from Proton. The previous answers did not provide him with the right answers.

"I am still waiting for the answers," he said.

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