Gilera or MV ‘fireengines’ which really was the greatest?
If the argument is which manufacturer had more success then (unfortunately) MV would win hands down for two basic reasons;
MV competed in 125, 250, 350 and 500 classes. Gilera was primarily only competing in the 500 class with very limited competing of 350s and even less in 125s.
The end of 1957 saw Gilera (amongst others) withdraw their works teams and support whereas MV (after originally also deciding to withdraw) continued racing with almost no ‘proper’ competition.
The only real test of the argument is surely to compare the two manufactures when they were competing on an even basis, and that is when the 500s of both teams actually raced each other. (Placings used are up to and including 6^{th})
1950
Belgian GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd}, 4^{th} MV 5^{th}
Dutch GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd}, 4^{th} MV none placed
Swiss GP Gilera 2^{nd}, 3^{rd} MV none placed
Ulster GP Gilera 6^{th} MV none placed
Italian GP Gilera 2^{nd}, 4^{th}, 5^{th} MV 3rd
World Championship Gilera (Umberto Masetti)
1951
Spanish GP Gilera 1^{st} MV 3^{rd}, 5^{th}
Swiss GP Gilera none placed MV 4^{th}
Belgian GP Gilera 2^{nd}, 5^{th} MV none placed
Dutch GP Gilera 2^{nd} MV none placed
French GP Gilera 1^{st}, 3^{rd}, 4^{th} MV none placed
Ulster GP Gilera 3^{rd}, 4^{th} MV none placed
Italian GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd}, 3^{rd} MV none placed
1952
Swiss GP Gilera 4^{th} MV 3^{rd}
TT Gilera none placed MV 2^{nd}
Dutch GP Gilera 1^{st}, 6^{th} MV none placed
Belgian GP Gilera 1^{st}, 6^{th} MV none placed
German GP Gilera none placed MV 4^{th}
Ulster GP Gilera 1^{st} MV 3^{rd}
Italian GP Gilera 2^{nd}, 3^{rd}, 5^{th} MV 1^{st} , 4^{th}
Spanish GP Gilera 2^{nd}, 4^{th} MV 1^{st}
World Championship Gilera (Umberto Masetti)
1953
TT Gilera 3^{rd} MV none placed
Dutch GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd}, 4^{th} MV none placed
Belgian GP Gilera 1^{st}, 3^{rd}, 6^{th} MV none placed
French GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd}, 3^{rd}, 5^{th} MV none placed
Ulster GP Gilera 2^{nd}, 4^{th} MV none placed
Swiss GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd}, 3^{rd}, 4^{th} MV none placed
Italian GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd}, 3^{rd}, 4^{th} MV 5^{th}, 6^{th}
Spanish GP Gilera 3^{rd}, 4^{th}, 5^{th} MV 2^{nd}
World Championship Gilera (Geoff Duke)
1954
French GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd} MV none placed
TT Gilera 2^{nd}, 4^{th} MV none placed
Belgian GP Gilera 1^{st}, 3^{rd} MV none placed
Dutch GP Gilera 1^{st} MV 3^{rd}, 5^{th}
German GP Gilera 1^{st}, 3^{rd} MV none placed
Swiss GP Gilera 1^{st}, 3^{rd} MV none placed
Italian GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd}, 5^{th} MV 3^{rd}, 4^{th}
Spanish GP Gilera none placed MV 1^{st}
World Championship Gilera (Geoff Duke)
1955
Spanish GP Gilera 1^{st}, 4^{th} MV 2^{nd}, 3^{rd}, 5^{th}, 6^{th}
French GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd}, 3^{rd} MV 4^{th}
TT Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd} MV none placed
German GP Gilera 1^{st}, 5^{th} MV 3^{rd}, 4^{th}
Belgian GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd}, 3^{rd} MV none placed
Dutch GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd}, 4^{th} MV 3^{rd}
Italian GP Gilera 2^{nd}, 3^{rd}, 4^{th}, 5^{th} MV 1^{st}
World Championship Gilera (Geoff Duke)
1956
TT Gilera none placed MV 1^{st}
Dutch GP Gilera none placed MV 1^{st}
Belgian GP Gilera 3^{rd}, 5^{th} MV 1^{st}
German GP Gilera 1^{st} 3^{rd} MV 2^{nd}
Italian GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd}, 3^{rd}, 4^{th} MV 5^{th}
World Championship MV (John Surtees)
1957
German GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd} MV 5^{th}
TT Gilera 1^{st}, 3^{rd} MV 2^{nd}
Dutch GP Gilera 2^{nd} MV 1^{st}
Ulster GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd}, 3^{rd} MV 6^{th}
Italian GP Gilera 1^{st}, 2^{nd}, 3^{rd}, MV 4^{th}, 5^{th}, 6^{th}
World Championship Gilera (Libero Liberati)
And that, your Honour is the case for the Title of best bike to be presented to Gilera. (6 World 500cc Championships to Gilera, 1 to MV)
The Judge (myself) deemed that MVs insistence that results after 1957 should also be counted, be dismissed as they were not competitive results against Gilera, and duly presented the title of “La Marca dei Primate” to Gilera.
CASE CLOSED !!! (and that's why you can be proud to own a Gilera).
