Moto Morini 250 Gran Premio 1964
The Morini 250 single-cylinder Gran Premio was known as the
"queen of the single-cylinders." The Italians were proud of it, the British
admired it openly, and the Japanese were afraid of it. Built with passion and
developed with ability, the motorcycle remained unchanged for years.
Alfonso Morini, owner and founder of the Morini company and a
racer in his youth, had been impressed with the performance of his Rebello 175
at the Italian Tour and the Milan-Taranto. Consequently he decided to try to
develop a 250 from the 175.
The first step Moto Morini took toward developing the new model was to test an
enlarged 175 in 1956. Then the dimensions of the cylinder were changed to
achieve full displacement (69 mm. x 66 mm. = 246.7 cc). This first Rebello 250
generated 29 h.p. at 10,000 r.p.m., which was sufficient to make it one of the
fastest 250s in the world.
But the real career of the Morini 250 began late in 1958 at
the Italian Grand Prix. Two Morini 250s—no longer the Rebello type but with a
new engine—were ridden at Monza by Emilio Mendogni and Giampiero Zubani. They
outdistanced Carlo Ub-biali, who was riding the MV Agusta that had just won the
The new Morini engine was once again a single-cylinder, four-stroke one. But,
unlike that of the Rebello, it had two-shaft overhead geared distribution that
was housed on the right side. Its power was up to 32 h.p. at 10,500 r.p.m. In
1959 the Morini 250 won two Italian races, one at Modena and one at Imola. Then
problems developed and the Morini won no more races for a while. Nothing in
particular had gone wrong. It was simply that the age of the single-cylinder
engine had ended in the 250 class. Technology now required at least two
cylinders, as in the MV, the Ducati, and the MZ, or even four cylinders, as in
the newly arrived Honda and the latest Benelli.
From 1959 to 1961 the Morini 250 stood in- the wings watching
the others compete. Tarquinio Provini rode it in a few world championship races.
Although the motorcycle was outstanding for a single-cylinder, it did not
perform on a par with the multicylinder contenders.
In 1962 the official Morini racers, Provini and Walter
Tassinari, added spice to the races held on the Adriatic coast, where all the
world championship teams met. The Moto Morini 250 generated 35 h.p. at 10,500
r.p.m., while the finest four-cylinder motorcycles, the Honda and the Benelli,
generated more than 40 h.p. Provini won the Italian 250 championship that year,
overtaking his teammate Tassinari at the last race, San-remo. Tarquinio
Provini's win came as a shock to the Honda people, who were not happy to undergo
the humiliation of losing to a single-cylinder. At the 250 Spanish Grand Prix
the following year, the first championship race of the season, Provini came in
first after beating reigning champion Jim Redman, who was riding the Honda
four-cylinder. The same thing happened at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim.
Provini won that race at record speed.
Moto Morini did not enter the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, for
economic reasons, and travel troubles put it out of the East German Grand Prix.
At the Japanese Grand Prix, Provini with his Morini 250—leading the world
championship classification at this point—was beaten by a coalition °f Japanese
teams. He missed winning the title by a bare two points.
But the Morini 250 won the Italian championship. It won in 1963 with Tarquinio
Provini, in 1964 with Gia-como Agostini, and in 1967 with An-gelo Bergamonti.
The motorcycle chalked up both national and international titles for nine years.
Then the Moto Morini company decided to retire from
Motorcycle: Moto Morini 250 Gran Premio
Manufacturer: Moto Morini, Bologna Type: Racing Year: 1964
Engine: Morini single-cylinder, four-stroke, with two-shaft overhead geared
distribution. Displacement 248.3 cc. (72 mm. x 61 mm.)
Transmission: Six-speed block
Power: 36 h.p. at 11,000 r.p.m.
Maximum speed: About 140 m.p.h.
Chassis: Double cradle, continuous, tubular. Front and rear, telescopic
Brakes: Front, central drum, double cam; rear, central drum