Claudio Castiglioni, MV Agusta saviour, dies aged 63

Claudio Castiglioni succumbs to illness

CLAUDIO Castiglioni, the founder of Cagiva, former owner of Ducati and the man who revived and owned MV Agusta, has died aged just 63.

One of the most charismatic men in motorcycling, Castiglioni was key to turning the family firm Cagiva (CAstiglioni GIovanni VArese) from a component company to a full motorcycle manufacturer in the 1970s, going to such success that he was able to buy up Ducati in 1985, a move that directly lead to the development of the 916 and its successors.

On selling Ducati to American investment firm TPG in 1996, he was able to turn his focus to the MV Agusta brand, which he'd bought in 1991. Having taken the legendary designer Massimo Tamburini with him from Ducati to MV, and roping in help from Ferrari in developing a new four-cylinder engine, Castiglioni was in the position to give the firm a comeback that's been remarkably successful, and he managed to stay in control despite an ever-changing list of owners and investors since then.

Not once but twice did he sell the company, only to buy it back for a fraction of the cost. Originally sold to Proton for €70 million, only to be bought back for €1 a year later, it was then sold again to Harley Davidson for another €70 million. Castiglioni bought it back last year for a total of €3 (yes, about £2.50...)

In recent months Castiglioni handed over control to his British-educated son Giovanni.