UPDATE: The Latest From Bimota The exotic Italian maker will continue to use the Ducati 1198 twin while seeking new investors.
Economic crisis or not, Italy shuts down in August and goes on holiday. It’s crazy. Which is why it gave me great pleasure to find Bimota’s new General Manager, Pier Luigi Marconi, at his desk, and willing to talk about the company and its plans to stay afloat.
Indeed, Bimota was about to sell some stock to potential new partners to obtain some capital for some new projects. Negotiations were well underway, but all potential investors turned out to be pretenders looking to grab a bite for a very cheap price. Bimota pulled out of all negotiations just as Marconi was contacted to see if his previous experience at the Italian company might help it to prosper again.
Marconi’s diagnosis was simple: Bimota was not selling enough of its bikes in relation to the basic costs of keeping the factory open. He then engaged himself in a tour around the world to contact old importers and dealers to renew their enthusiasm and passion for the exclusive bikes made in Rimini. In the meantime, he also drastically cut needless expenditures. The response was positive. Some of the bikes in the inventory have sold, and new orders are coming in.
Bimota still needs fresh money, but a focused plan is taking shape.
“We are focusing on the line of the Ducati 1198-powered models because they are still highly regarded by our dealers and we only need to further improve them in minor details,” said Marconi. “Öhlins suspensions might be a major step in this direction, but I am also pondering the adoption of electronically managed suspension units. The present 160-horse Ducati 1198 unit still is an excellent engine. In combination with our rolling gear and light weight, it delivers great performance and emotions. We are also working on a completely revised Tesi model that will fully prove the potential of the concept while also reviving a symbol of Bimota exclusivity. About the power units, I look forward to meeting the Ducati top management in order to probe the possible access to their mighty Panigale 1299 twin, that would put Bimota in the position of developing the ultimate superbike, believe me.”
Is there a future for the BB3 project? Replied Marconi: “The BB3 was a most unfortunate case of improper management. But the bike is good and I would like to keep it alive. But, as I said, Bimota needs fresh money to proceed in the right direction and consolidate its creative potential.”
Having known Marconi since the 1980s, back when he was Chief Project Engineer of Bimota, I must say that he is a man of his word.