The Morbidelli Project.
"This drawing above is dated from June of 1968, at a time when the Bell Star helmet was unknown in Europe. My inspiration was... astronaut helmets! The bike is aerodynamically all wrong and would have caused massive lift, but the seat is virtually identical to the ones first used by Don Vesco at Daytona in 1972.
The design of this motorcycle was inspired by Ray Amm's 1952 Norton record bike for the position (kneeling rather than seated) but used a center-hub steering with a front swing arm, a solution later picked by Andre De Cortanze for the Elf-X motorcycle in 1978. De Cortanze was the designer of the Team Pescarolo Courage-C60 and also of the 1998-1999 Toyota GP-C, the Peugeot 905 LM of the ‘90s. This design also featured an aluminum monocoque chassis/fairing/fuel tank.
The exhaust is routed under a formed resting pad under the driver's chest. Also note the cast wheels at a time when there were only wire wheels available for motorcycles. This exact wheel design was later used by Yamaha beginning in 1975. This design led to the following and more elaborate artwork devised in 1973. Originally produced for the program of the US Grand Prix (Motocross) in Carlsbad, CA in 1974, it was later re-printed in the Yamaha International Magazine in 1975. It precedes the actual re-introduction of the mono-shock rear suspension by Yamaha (1975) and shows many features that were quite advanced at the time, such as advanced aero and inboard disc brakes, not counting the bell-crank rear suspension that was later adopted by Kawasaki and ultimately most other motorcycle manufacturers.
Also dated 1977 is this above sketch with annotations made on a restaurant napkin in Pesaro, Italy, during an intense conversation with Dr Giancarlo Morbidelli. The previously expressed general ideas are retained, but check this out: the front suspension is now a wide double A-arm system with a profiled cast-magnesium rigid fork incorporating cast-in brake calipers, the system adjustable for camber as well as trail and using a sophisticated inboard Koni shock. There is adjustable-ratio steering controlled by rods and Heim joints. Power is fed to the rear swing-arm axle by a constant-tension chain, a second constant-tension chain driving the wheel over a single-side arm."
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