Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Pattoni Connection

If you are the type who can't help rooting for the perennial underdog, as I am, then you can't but love the Paton 500 MotoGP effort. The story begins in 1958 when Giuseppe Pattoni and Lino Tonti left the defunct Mondial GP squad to build their own 125cc Paton GP bike. An example placed 7th at the Isle of Man TT that year, in the hands of a young Mike Hailwood.

Working full time for a Lancia car dealer in Milan, Giuseppe Pattoni continued the motorcycle GP effort designing and building bikes in his spare time using his employer's facilities.

The 250 GP of the early 1960's eventually evolved into the formidable 500cc 4-stroke 180° twin of 1968.


This bike saw considerable success, wining many world championship points and some podiums and winning the Italian 500cc championship in 1967. Not bad for a self-funded team comprised of friends and enthusiasts.

By the end of 1974 it was clear that the reign of the 4-stroke was over in the 500GP class. A new 2-stroke was developed which evolved and competed on the world stage right to the end of the 2-stroke era in 2001.

The cost and effort to develop, construct and compete on the world stage as a private marque, for so many years, was enormous and a constant struggle. Help and support from sponsors, friends and family made the impossible possible.

For 20 years Giuseppe Pattoni got by with only one full-time mechanic, Gianemillio Marchesani. When Marchesani was killed in a road accident in the early 1980's his place was taken by Giuseppe's son, Roberto Pattoni.

Paton Engineering

Giuseppi died in 1999 leaving Roberto to take up the rein. After 2001, rule changes to the top class meant the return of 4-stroke race bikes (this time with 1000cc engines) and the end of the 500cc 2-stroke era.

The cost of developing a competitive new 4-stroke MotoGP bike could not be justified and so Roberto diversified his business. Paton Engineering now provides two core services: performance motorcycle consulting and development; and construction of "original replica" versions of the venerable 1968 Paton 500cc GP 4-stroke.


CR&S was the first customer of Paton Engineering's new consulting division and Roberto Pattoni collaborated on technical development of their new VUN project.

Early sketch of the VUN's frame and rear suspension geometry.

Roberto Pattoni oversees computer modeling of the VUN.

This collaboration worked so well that, in 2004, Roberto Pattoni accepted an offer to become a full partner at CR&S in charge of technical development.

The VUN Paton 50th Anniversary Edition

In 2008, to mark the 50th anniversary of Paton GP racing, a special edition VUN was created, with chasis #50, in the clasic green and gold colors of the 1960's Paton race bikes.

Roberto Vun e Duu


Mick Walker's Italian Racing Motorcycles - Redline Books, CR&S Homepage, Paton Engineering Homepage, various old motorcycle magazines and some fond memories.

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