The history of the Gilera motorcycle company began in the early 1900s with the launch of the VT 317, the first motorcycle designed by Giuseppe Gilera, in 1909. After WW1, Gilera’s 500cc flathead motorbikes won the top international races.
The mid-1930s saw the arrival of overhead motorcycles like the Quattro Bulloni 500 and the Otto Bulloni. 1936 marked the launch of the Rondine, a futuristic racing bike with compressor and 500cc straight-four engine.
The Rondine set a host of world records (274.181 km/h on a flying kilometer in 1937: a feat that remained unbeaten for nearly twenty years) and took Dorino Serafini to the 1939 European Championship title.
After the war, Gilera returned with the new Saturno 500 and a range of medium-small engines. On the race track, the new four-cylinder 500cc motorcycles dominated the MotoGP World Championship, the stars of epic duels with Norton, Moto Guzzi and MV Agusta, and won six motorcycle rider titles between 1950 and 1957.
Overall, by the time of its withdrawal from motorcycle racing in 1957, Gilera had won 40 World Grand Prix races. It was a redoubtable competitor in off-road motorcycle races too, dominating the International Six Days events.
On the market, Gilera made its reputation with its medium-cylinder touring bikes – Giubileo, Rossa, Turismo, Sport – turning out impressive production figures; its top-of-the-range models, in addition to the Saturno (the choice of Italy’s armed forces) included the 300 Bicilindrica.
Gilera MotoGP | Motorcycle Manufacturer Titles
1952 – MotoGP / 500 cc
1953 – MotoGP / 500 cc
1954 – MotoGP / 500 cc
1955 – MotoGP / 500 cc
1957 – MotoGP / 350 cc
1957 – MotoGP / 500 cc
Gilera MotoGP | Motorcycle Racer Titles
1950 – Umberto Masetti, Italy – 500 cc
1952 – Umberto Masetti, Italy – 500 cc
1953 – Geoff Duke, Great Britain – 500 cc
1954 – Geoff Duke, Great Britain – 500 cc
1955 – Geoff Duke, Great Britain – 500 cc
1957 – Libero Liberati, Italy – 500 cc
2001 – Manuel Poggiali, RSM – 125 cc
2008 – Marco Simoncelli, Italy – 250 cc
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