Italian motorcycling greats including former world champ Max Biaggi and Piaggio boss Roberto Colaninno have been among those paying tribute to Ivano Beggio, the former president of Aprilia, who has died at the age of 73 after a long illness.
Beggio succeeded his father, who founded the Noale firm, in 1968 when it employed just a handful of people. Under Ivano’s leadership Aprilia grew rapidly. In the 1990s its sports and racing lightweights became multiple GP world champions ridden by the likes of Max Biaggi, Loris Capirossi and even Valentino Rossi. While at the turn of the century, its move into V-twin superbikes and MotoGP ruffled the feathers of established giants Ducati and Honda. Along the way Aprilia took over Italian legends Laverda and Moto Guzzi and looked set to become Europe’s largest motorcycle manufacturer.
Beggio’s empire, however, came crashing down in 2003/4 due to financial difficulties, forcing its sale to Piaggio, although Beggio himself remained Aprilia honourary president up to 2006.
Following his death on Tuesday, Biaggi commented: “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.”
Piaggio boss Collaninno added: “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.”
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