Cagiva - GP
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Cagiva D2-492-23-17
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Capacity : 500
Model : GP
Production : 1981 -
Category : (R) Racing


500 GP -1981

Reviving a sporting image

The Castiglioni brothers were racing enthusiasts who backed a 500 Suzuki ridden by Lucchinelli in the World Championship in 1978. The same year, the ink was scarcely dry on their purchase of Aermacchi from Harley-Davidson before they were planning to revive its sporting image. In 1980, while they were overhauling Aermacchi's industrial side, they signed rider Virginio Ferrari (Yamaha) in order to ready the team for a real comeback.

Unorthodox Valve Gear

They entrusted the design and development of a 500 racer to former members of the Aermacchi and MV racing organizations. The engine was inspired by the then-dominant Yamaha. However, an unorthodox feature was the mounting of the quadruple-four rotary intake valves above the gearbox, where they were driven by a cogged belt. Several different frames were tried. One of these, designed by the Dutch engineer Nico Bakker, featured an adjustable-rake steering head.

A Slow Beginning

The season started slowly, for the engine and frame were sadly lacking in preparation, and Ferrari only managed to finish a single Grand Prix, the German GP. The unfornunate Ferrari was coming in seventh in the Yugoslavian GP when Mike Baldwin collided with him and knocked him out of the race. In 1982, Cagiva completely redesigned its 500, which, as was then fashionable, had a square-four engine. As of 1992, Cagiva remained the sole challenge to the Japanese in this category.


Engine: 493cc (56x50mm) air-cooled transverse four-cylinder two-stroke

Power Rating: 120 hp@ 11,000 rpm

Valves: quadruple rotary intake valves

Fuel System: carburetors

Transmission: 6-speed, chain final drive

Suspension: telescopic forks (front); swing arm (rear)

Brakes: disc (front & rear)

Wheels: 16 inch (front); 18 inch (rear)

Weight: 287 lb

Maximum Speed: 180 mpb

Cagiva 's first real track racer had only a short, inglorious career. It was painted red and gray in tribute to the legendary MV Agustas.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

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