It’s a common sight to see Formula One drivers zooming up and down the pit lane on scooters. But many of these hardcore racers have more serious motorcycles secreted away in their personal garages. Guys like Lewis Hamilton, Jensen Button, Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher are all two-wheeled aficionados—and many enjoy customizing their bikes too.
Ayrton Senna da Silva, perhaps the most talented Formula One driver of all time, was also a keen motorcyclist. This year is the twentieth anniversary of Senna’s passing at Imola, so the German builder (and motorcycle racer) Marcus Walz has just created a stunning limited edition Moto Guzzi Le Mans in his honor.
Marcus Walz is a familiar face in the Formula 1 pit lane: his customers include Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Räikkönen, David Coulthard and Gerhard Berger. As you can imagine, his work is very much in the premier league—and this Le Mans is no different.
Three Senna tribute bikes have been created, based on 1970s Moto Guzzis from the Le Mans Mark I series. They’re completely rebuilt from the ground up, with custom bodywork finished in colors inspired by Senna’s famous helmet designs, taken from the Brazilian flag and painted by Sid Mosca.
Walz has punched the 850cc engine out to 1040cc, and it now delivers an easy 90hp; weight has dropped to around 175kg (385 lbs). The custom sheet metal is 1.5-millimeter aluminum, including the custom gas tank, seat section and front fender.
Moto Guzzi’s famously sweet-handling frame has been sandblasted, detabbed and powder-coated for an even better than factory finish. Walz has upgraded the suspension too, with new fork tubes, internals, and progressive springs. Out back are YSS Z-Series shocks, with adjustable preload, rebound and length.
The 18” original Le Mans cast wheels are now black powdercoated and fitted with Avon Roadrider rubber: 110/80 at the front, and 130/80 at the back.
Brembo two-piston calipers are on braking duty at both ends, now clamping on drilled stainless steel rotors. The rearsets are hand-fabricated and fully adjustable, and the clip-on bars are from high-end German specialist LSL.
The styling is classic, the power-to-weight ratio is ample, and the engineering is immaculate. We think Ayrton would have approved.