Massimo Tamburini, the master behind some of Ducati and MV Agusta’s most iconic motorcycle designs, succumbed to lung cancer on Saturday at the age of 70. Two of the motorcycles that are most indelibly imprinted on his legacy — the Ducati 916 and the MV Agusta F4 — were included in the Art of the Motorcycle exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum in 1998 and 1999.
His first creation was the MV Agusta 750 Sport, which he built in 1971 with a frame he welded himself.
Very early in his career, he launched the Italian motorcycle manufacturer Bimota – the name includes the first two letters of the last name of the three partners in the company, Valerio Bianchi (“Bi”), Giuseppe Morri (“Mo”) and Massimo Tamburini (“Ta”).
He stayed with Bimota for 11 years, but after a tumultuous split with his partners, he was hired by Claudio Castiglioni, who was controlling the motorcycle giant Cagiva. Cagiva owned Ducati at the time. His first design for Ducati was the Ducati 750 Paso, later 906, and the similarly styled Moto Morini Dart.
Then Tamburini penned the design for the incredible Ducati 916, and suddenly, this boutique manufacturer of sport motorcycles was a household name.
He stayed with Cagiva after the Castiglioni brothers sold off Ducati, and designed the MV Agusta F4, which is much more an evolution of the 916 design than the 999 which replaced the 916 in Ducati’s lineup.
In his last years, Tamburini created the MV Agusta F4 Brutale and the F3 675.
Just last year, Tamburini was diagnosed with lung cancer. He began receiving chemotherapy treatments in November of 2013, but his health continued to decline. His legacy in the motorcycle world will not soon be forgotten.