2012 MV Agusta F3 | First Ride

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2012 MV Agusta F3 Review

I kid you not, when we started testing the 2012 MV Agusta F3 on the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track in the south of France, it was -2 degrees Celsius and ice on the circuit had been isolated by using cones and the Mistral straight shortened by using chicanes.

These were the conditions until I did my first camera car lap and then the sun rose and brought the air temperature mercifully up above the 0 mark. But you see Paul Ricard HTTT is a pretty amazing place and the track has so much grip and the F3s were fitted with super sticky Pirelli Supercorsa SC2’s which is not the standard tyres. There were quite a bit of sliding out of corners but traction control removed that worry completely.

I’ll describe my first encounter on my first session in these first impressions. Hitting Paul Ricard in these conditions was a fairly challenging task because the circuit is covered in high grip coloured surfaces outside the track layout enabling you to deviate completely from the suggested lines should you wish to do so.

The trouble though was that there were icy patches here and there which complicated things. During my first few laps all I could see all around me were blue and red lines and orange cones all over the place.

I felt like a lion being confused by a Zebra at night to be honest. After a few laps I got the hang of the awkward layout that we had to use but still found very little confidence in how much grip there were in the super slow chicanes. Nobody that likes to ride or drive fast likes chicanes because they disturb a riders rhythm. Hence it took me longer to learn the circuit than I could have hoped for.

The F3 with its 675cc triple engine develops a claimed 128 horsepower @14.500rpm and 52 ft. lbs. of torque @10.600rpm. Our French circuit guide, himself a name in Endurance racing (Bol ‘d Or etc), advised me I could use second gear on the final right hander leading onto the Mistral straight. But I later found that that would have to be done at breakneck speed and I wasn’t in any type of kamikaze mood on this day.

First gear it was for me then as when I entered too slowly in second gear there weren’t enough low end oomph to fire me off quickly enough. The first gear chicanes wasn’t complementary to the awesomeness of the F3 really so it becomes one of very few grudges as it’s hard to modulate the ride-by-wire throttle in the fierce first gear. For track riding I’d prefer a higher first and a lower second gear.

The most impressive thing about the F3 is how quickly the 675cc triple engine revs up and it compensates a long way towards a slight lack in lower midrange capabilities. The F3 qualifies for a 106 decibel regulation and as such it produces a long lost beautiful and raw original sound from the three pipes mounted by the lower fairing on the right hand side of the motorcycle. It sounds like a proper racing bike and in many ways that’s exactly what it is.

The seat height and riding position isn’t as extreme as the F4 so this is a valid point for those that have excluded themselves from an MV due to the hardcore limb busting nature of the traditional F4 racer.

All in all I give the F3 a big thumbs up and to me this competes with the best of the superbikes in desirability and track performance. If there is a “must have” sport bike in 2012 and you don’t need 200hp it’s the MV Agusta F3 that takes it.

Stay clicked to UltimateMotorCycling.comfor a full review.

Photography: Milagro