In 2020, MV Augusta is not a name you would associate with the greatest riders on the current MotoGP grids, after taking 42 years off from prototype racing with a return in 2019, the name has been missed from the grids.
Anyone with racing knowledge will know of the complete and utter domination over a 23 year period that MV Agusta had over Grand Prix racing between 1952 and 1974, winning a total of 38 titles across the 125cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc classes with 18 consecutive 500cc titles from John Surtees, Gary Hocking, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini and Phil Read.
John Surtees, Gary Hocking and Giacomo Agostini can all be credited with winning the 350cc title in the same year as the 500cc, completely dominating the record books and races, Giacomo Agostini won every 350cc and 500cc race he entered between 1968 and 1971 on the MV Agusta, including taking multiple Isle of Man TT wins at a time when the circuit took a life every time someone raced on it.
The Italian Manufacturers first title came in 1952 with British rider Cecil Sandford taking the 125cc crown, 3 years later one of the most successful riders ever stepped on an MV Agusta and forever changed history. Carlo Ubbiali is a nine-time world champion, taking 6 125cc titles and 3 250cc titles, he instantly gelled with the MV taking the 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960 125cc titles, backing this up in 1956, 1959 and 1960 with a 250cc title also on the MV Agusta. Tarquinio Provini took the 1958 250cc title which as you can guess, was on the MV Agusta.
In 1956 the domination stepped up a gear (or 7, as back then there were no restrictions on gearing), MV Augusta took the 125cc, 250cc and the 500cc title with Surtees taking the premier class crown, however, they were missing their elusive 350cc crown, this was until 1958 when for 3 years straight when the manufacturer had a clean sweep, taking the 1958, 1959 and 1960 125cc, 250cc, 350cc and 500cc titles with Surtees riding in 350cc and 500cc.
In 1961 the manufacturer moved away from the 125cc and 250cc classes and concentrated more on the 350cc and 500cc classes with Gary Hocking taking the title for the 2 classes this year before Mike ‘The Bike’ Hailwood moved from Norton and won the 500cc class every year between 1962 and 1965. The crown was then passed to Giacomo Agostini who cemented himself with Hailwood as one of the greatest to ever do it, Agostini won every 500cc title between 1966 and 1972, backing this up with every 350cc title between 1968 and 1973.
Finally, in 1973 and 1974 Phil Read would take the 500cc titles with Agostini moving to Yamaha in 1974. After 1974 MV Agusta would not win any further titles and would leave the Grand Prix racing scene in 1977 before making a return to the Moto2 championship in 2019, 42 years after their departure.
Their legacy is unparalleled and their mark on history will be talked about for as long as Grand Prix racing continues.
MV Agusta’s 2020 Moto2 F2 machine with riders Simone Corsi and Stefano Manzi
Featured images – https://www.mvagusta.ro/