After the official announcement, Ernesto Marinelli is ready to take on a new challenge as Product Director and Technical Director at Termignoni. He tells us about his expectations and projects for the future in this short interview.
Q: Your career in Ducati lasted over twenty years: a long and highly successful collaboration during which you made your own contribution to Superbike racing history. What inspired you to embark on a new career path with Termignoni?
A: Primarily, the excellent relationship I have always had with Luigi Termignoni, first, and Michele and Marco Burnengo, later. There are other reasons though: my passion for exhausts and fluid dynamics for example, areas I’ve been interested in ever since my university days, but above all my desire to contribute to the company’s relaunch and generational changeover. Over the years, I have had a chance to be involved in motorcycle world at various levels, and this new experience will allow me to see more and have a wider view of this world. Additionally, the opportunity to organise and manage a team of engineers and R&D technicians more independently is great motivation because I feel that a close-knit and compact team is the key to achieving the best results. I am faced with a highly stimulating challenge as well as a great growth opportunity.
Q: Talking about people, what are your expectations regarding the R&D team you will be leading?
A: As far as I’m concerned, people have always played a central role. Experience has taught me that team work is essential if we want to achieve results: everybody’s contribution is needed, so you need to be able to stimulate people’s creativity to get the best out of each individual. Of course, communication plays a crucial role. I hope I will be able to motivate my team so that each member can fully express him/herself and achieve maximum results.
Q: Which elements of your past experience will you be able to harness as Termignoni sets about creating numerous new products?
A: Definitely the method that racing gives you, and a global vision. The race experience teaches you to simplify complex things by adopting simple solutions, it teaches you to prioritise and optimise your time. It is a very useful approach when it comes to the development of new products because it helps you to achieve results by trying to identify the right response at the right time. I also bring my passion for exhaust systems, an essential part of any motorcycle, both in terms of aesthetics and performance. Of course, the skills you gain through experience are important, but, in my opinion, you never stop learning in life, and having a positive attitude and an open mind is crucial if you want to do a good job.
Q: There has been significant development on the motorbike exhaust landscape, one that has expanded in recent years to new market areas. How do you think Termignoni positions on this landscape?
A: It’s true, today’s market is far more challenging than it was ten years ago. The sports bike segment has shrunk while others are growing. This is due to increasingly varied demand, which means it is essential to offer a wide product range. In this respect, the Termignoni product range already responds to various needs but we will focus on this aspect, aiming to strengthen existing partnerships and create new ones so as to expand the variety of products on offer, both the applications requested by manufacturers but also the after-market.
Q: Moving on to competitors, who is Termignoni’s greatest competitor right now?
A: I feel that there is stiff competition nowadays. We have very strong competitors at an industrial level and other competitors that are more sector-specific. In my opinion, Termignoni continues to be a point of reference, its main strengths being Italian craftsmanship and creativity. We need to ensure that the “Made in Italy” and design aspects remain strengths of ours, along with our promptness in releasing new products. The development of new technologies and materials will also be key if we are to remain a leader in our sector.
Q: And in the short-term? Which projects will you be working on?
A: We already have quite a list of new products to develop… The new Borgo Panigale V4 will require a very special design and we also want to develop the dedicated BMW range. Another sector in which we will be pushing is the slip-on segment, an important entry level for our product range. I would also like to create a customisation option so that every motorcycle can have a customised product based on the model and the client’s/rider’s needs. As you can see, we have a great many ideas in mind and we look forward to starting to develop them. We will take it step by step though, because satisfying our clients requires great focus and attention to detail. Those who opt for a Termignoni exhaust expect technological excellence, Italian design and a distinctive sound. And this is exactly what we will continue to work on. The exhaust must create a strong bond between the rider and his motorcycle: the sound must transmit the power and must excite the rider, while the design must enhance the bike’s overall beauty.
Q: As for objectives, where do you think the next five years will take Termignoni?
A: I expect the company to grow, yet remain flexible and versatile. It will be able to respond to the ever-changing market and to its clients’ needs promptly and accurately, just as it is already doing today. If I was asked to draw a comparison, I would say that Termignoni, among its competitors, should avoid becoming a bulky ship, difficult to navigate in an obstacle-filled ocean and should instead be a quick and agile motorboat, able to change course and speed whenever necessary. It is a young and dynamic company, so I expect it to retain its flexibility. We are not aiming at mass production, but rather at craftsmanship, something that characterises any company that prioritises quality over quantity. We must invest in technology and research into new materials to guarantee ongoing excellence but we must do so without betraying our distinctive artisan roots. Because at the end of the day, this is Termignoni’s strength: craftsmanship made possible by the very people in whom the company has believed and invested since day one.