1987 Mondial 125cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Frame no. FV-S 0101
Revival of an iconic Italian marque One of a handful made World Championship entry in 1988
Few marques have achieved so fine a competition record in so short a time as FB Mondial, the Italian company's period at the very top of Grand Prix racing encompassing the years 1949-51, when it won three back-to-back World Championships, plus a gloriously successful swansong in 1957 that secured a further two world titles. Sadly, what should have been the dawn of a new golden age for the Bologna marque was not to be: Mondial, along with Moto Guzzi and Gilera, withdrew from Grand Prix racing at the season's end, and although the firm built a number of - mainly two-stroke - racers in the 1960s, it never achieved the same heights again.
The factory closed its doors in 1979 and that would have been the end of the story but for the two Villa brothers, Francesco and Walter, who revived the moribund marque in the late 1980s with company founder Count Bosselli's full approval. Produced at the Villas' factory at Crespallano, some 15 kilometres from Bologna, the first of these proposed new Mondials (the 'FB' prefix had been dropped) was a 125cc Grand Prix racer.
Its specification was impressive: aluminium twin-spar frame; water-cooled engine with disc valve induction and Nikasil-plated cylinder; Motoplat ignition; six-speed gearbox; 'dry' clutch; Marzocchi forks; Brembo disc brakes; Marvic wheels; etc. Displayed for the first time at the 1987 Milan Show, the Mondial was priced at a staggering 15 million lire (you could have bought a contemporary superbike for the same amount of money) and not surprisingly there were few customers.
The example offered here was ridden by Serafino Foti, now manager of the Aruba Racing team that runs Ducati's World Superbike Championship effort. It was entered in the Italian round of the 1988 World Championship at Imola, Motocourse recording that Foti did not qualify. Mondial's racing programme was wound up soon after. Acquired by Giuseppe Visenzi in 1994, the machine is described as complete apart from the battery (required by the electric water pump).