Kawasaki Acquires Bimota

Rumors turning into reality.

Kawasaki has acquired the Bimota brand; does that mean we may see the return of a Tesi?Brian Blades

The rumor had been gaining momentum and an anonymous source now says it's true: Kawasaki Heavy Industries has acquired the celebrated Bimota brand from Swiss-Italian entrepreneurs Marco Chiancianesi and Daniele Longoni. The two gained control of the make back in 2013, but in 2017, the small factory in Rimini was closed and most of what was left was shipped to Switzerland where the last few Tesi 3 models were assembled. End of the game—until now.

Today Bimota is just a name that is dear to enthusiasts and purists around the world, but it is not much more. No numbers have been released about the amount of money Kawasaki paid to Chiacianesi and Longoni, but what is sure is that today Bimota is an empty box—just a name. The only real activity around the Bimota name is that of Paolo Girotti as he carries on with his well-equipped Bimota Classic Parts shop, where he produces spare parts for all Bimota models manufactured prior to 2006; business is good.

Bimota is one of those strange Italian stories of success and disaster. Founded and sharply managed by the great Massimo Tamburini, Bimota went in an unrecoverable nosedive after his “friend” Giuseppe Morri pushed him out of the firm.

Yet for some reason Bimota kept attracting young creative project engineers and designers who were capable of developing beautiful, sleek, sharp sportbikes that attracted enormous attention. Unfortunately, they never brought the daily bread and butter home due management turmoil that continued through every sequence of ownership, culminating in the Chiancianesi-Longoni shuttering.

At this point, two questions come naturally: Why has Kawasaki acquired Bimota? What will Kawasaki do with Bimota? Kawasaki Heavy Industries is a giant in multiple industries that includes ship, rail, air, and energy. Its present range of motorcycle models keeps showing superb potential in all the SBK series, so the acquisition of Bimota might be a way to give life to some very special, numbered batches of high-performance models, including a special version of the upcoming Z Supercharged model.

At this stage it is not clear where the new Bimota factory will be located. In the case where the location will be Rimini as in the past, chances are good that technicians and engineers of the old staff would flock to rejoin their beloved Bimota. Perhaps even Pierluigi Marconi, the creator of Tesi.

Kawasaki was not the only one that showed interest in the acquisition of the Bimota brand. Former world champion Virginio Ferrari, who won the 1987 TT F1 title with the Bimota YB4, made a bid for Bimota but, as he commented, he might have made it too late.

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