Moto Guzzi MGS-01 Corsa Prototype


To most modern day motorcycle riders, MotoGuzzi is almost unknown. Guzzi has been fighting for to keep it's doors open for almost 20years. Guzzi's problems can be clearly laid at the feet of it's previous 2 owners. But the real death blow to the company came during the early 1990's when it became clear the the company had been gutted and left for dead. Guzzi had been in similar bad state when in the early 1970's the introduction of the "Iconic" Guzzi V-Twin engine saved the company. Making the Guzzi 90 degree shaft drive V-twin as legendary as Ducati or Harley Davidson.

Today young motorcycle riders of today do not realize that Guzzi was really a company that built most of it's racing championships on the back of killer single cylinder bikes. Or even that Moto Guzzi ever was a championship power house. However much like Alfa Romero, Moto Guzzi built almost every motorcycle engine layout possble. The best proof of this is the legendary V8 engine. Also during the pre-WWII years Guzzi was the most dominant motocycle company in Italy. I could also be claimed more important and successful than it's rival BMW!
Guzzi was again dealt another fatal blow to it's survival when after the take over by Aprilia, the steep down turn in motorcycle sales ripped the bottom out of Aprilia and it's over extended underperforming sales forced Aprilia, into controlled recievership. But for Guzzi there has always been one secret thread that has allowed the company to creep forward even when out of money. Which was often of the last 20 years.
So we need to skip back to the late 1980's to find the real starting point for the foundations of the MGS-01 "Corsa" we see today. Also by looking at the "Daytona" we will see how far the shadow of MGS exceeds any performance concept by Guzzi in the last 30 years. 

All we have to do is look at the cylinder head of the MGS-01 to know that it's engine did not come from the Centauro. Because the Centauro's engine was actually the "Daytona" engine in a detuned state. The 4 Valve twin was created for the Daytona superbike project.
The "Centuaro" got the the same basic engine because the goal was to make a highly stylized "standard" bike to support the development and tooling costs of the Daytona engine program. Only one problem and that was that MotoGuzzi was not making any effort to get certification of the Daytona for the USA as they expected to sell everything they could make to the German and Japanese markets. A any Guzzi fan knows almost none of the Daytona's were ever imported. Even though MotoGuzzi's did bring "Dr John" on board to help with a nonexistant racing program. The Daytona's racing died due to lack of funding. 
Guzzi also had another problem that it refused to acknowledge and that was the success of the new superbike the legendary Ducati 851 ! The 851 sucked out all of the potential buyers for the Daytona. As Raymond Roche began winning and after the first world superbike championship victory of 1990. Guzzi's superbike hopes were wipped out in total. DeTomaso did not even fill the orders by racers who ordered Daytona's with full race kits!!
Now we skip ahead to almost 20 years and see how the Daytona 4 valve engine program has been reborn with a 6 speed gear box from the V-1100 program. Again what we find has real possibilities "IF"....the factory decides to make a production street sport version for the world in quanity. As with any Guzzi race bike there is a completly different concept as to how to get make it to victory circle. 

So Fast forward to 2002, the new Guzzi management created the "Style Laboratory" in order to grow new products using the talents of famous industrial designers & motorcycle developers such as Ghezzi & Brian with the sole aim of designing motorcycles with new technology and modern style trends that have a true Moto Guzzi flare.
So Ghezzi & Brian were also put in the hot seat as they given little time to develop a fresh concept and have it ready to present for the Intermot 2002 show in Munich. That was a total of nine months!
As so often is the case in design breakthroughs "less is more". Guzzi's best bikes have always been without frills, and very pure. With a umistakable sense of purpose and mission. Just look at the original "850 LeMans 1" and you will also see a carry forward of basic line.

Any great motocycle design is wrapped in the essence of the primal mission of motorcycling. It must be easy to ride and have the raw elements of mechanicals exposed in a blend of function before form. Then the final result will be a form that communicates the personality of "brand" and "traditions" that give Guzzi's a personality distinct from any other motorcycle period. In the case of the GSM-01 Corsa, this has been done with sense of poetry that no Ducati can overshadow.      
When the Intermot 2002 opened to the public the MGS-01, was the overwhelming darling of the show. Public reaction was enthusasticly wild. Press coverage of the show reflected a similar apperciation and excitement. The biggest question was....would this concept ever actually see production. Needless to say we know now that the publics strong support pushed the Moto Guzzi management to breath life into the MSG-01. 

 The public's demands for the MSG-01, swamped the Guzzi boys back in Mandello del Lario with thousands of requests.  Now the next big question is "if & when" will an actual street legal version of the MSG-01 make it to both the USA and the World?? Once again the biggest problem here will be getting the product to customers. That has always been the down fall of Guzzi in the past. The Ghezzi & Brian development program also has other exciting new bikes that are in theory heading into production. Only time will tell.
MGS-01 Corsa has dramaticly more power than any version of the old Daytona motor, even in a stage 3 race kit!! This motor is a powerful air-cooled 1,256cc four-stroke, 4 valves in Nymonic. Also there is a bit of F-1 technology that has crept into this monster. A set of high compression three-segment "Cosworth Pistons", matched up to Ceramic-Coated cylinders, and bushings, replaced with bearings.

Needless to say air cooling is considered stone-age technology but in this case it supplies the required cooling with out the need of additional water-cooling systems. This engine is a powerful "lump", which pumps out both power from the very lowest end of the rev-band and like any V-twin it delivers smooth delivery without any sudden surprise. Yes this is a shaft drive motor. Is that a problem? Not really as the 2 segment shaft is devoid of the shaft rise problems that caused problems to racers some 30 years ago.   
Ok, now lets take a look at what actually makes the MGS-01 such a race ready package. Now remember this is a "race only" package. So that means there is no wiring for headlights, tale lights. So now we know why it comes with "race slicks". But what makes all race bikes successful is it's suspension kit. Guzzi starts off on the right foot.

First we have a very short wheel base attached to "pure" Magnesium race wheels. These are hooked up to Brembo's best full floating disc's and gold line brakes. To make sure the MSG-01 has pin-point raod holding at any speed. Öhlins upside-down forks. In the rear we find an extra long "Alum Alloy" box section swingarm. Again the rear suspension is driven by a Öhlins shockabsorder in a vertical position, mounted just behind the engine, which creates the opportunity for a 15 liter aribox.
Also we would like to take time to thank our friends at Orange County -Motorsports. These guys treated us great and made this feature story on the MSG-01 possible. We suggest that if your a Moto Guzzi or Triumph addict, or just looking for a first class dealer. Visit these guys as they are located in the heart of the OC. Just off the Newport Freeway at Edinger, Santa Ana. About one block east of the BMW dealer. They have a strong stock of Guzzi's best. Don't forget to tell them your a Motorsports Center.com reader!!

The engine is being held in station by a very rigid rectangular cross-section steel spar frame. Again what we see is a focus on keeping the weight down and due the the basic operation aspects of the Guzzi V-twin design a large complex frame is not required. So as often is the case. You can actually gain track speed by having a better horsepower to weight ratio, while having higher cornering speeds and better handling.
I would be a good to remind our younger readers that Mike Baldwin won the AMA championship on an 850 Le Mans, while giving up some 50 horsepower. Even though that was back in the 1970's the rules of math and physics do not change. As proven by our friends at Ducati and the amazing number of superbike victories, and championships. The MSG-01 look more than up the challenge of AMA class racing on many levels.

Source .motorsportscenter.com