MCN's senior road tester Michael Neeves is in the south of France for the official launch of the new 675cc MV Agusta F3.
It's a critical bike for MV – because it's relatively affordable (at £9999 it's in the same ball-park as rivals) and it could open up a whole new market to them. But, clearly, it has to work.
Unfortunately, the weather is almost as severe at the Paul Ricard circuit as it is here in the UK, but Neevesy has managed to get some first impressions:
"It's -3 degrees C so MV has sent us out behind a camera car for pictures first – it's too cold for proper track sessions at the moment. Just riding the F3 slowly I'm impressed.
"It's like a tiny, loud, light, angry, stiff World Superbike racer, or a pukka 250GP bike. It's like no other supersport bike I've ridden – so raw, and more race than track. I can't wait for a proper blast when it warms up - I'll keep you posted."
Michael Neeves has now had another two track sessions on the new F3 and it seems the bike is not aimed directly at road riders. Here's his latest update:
"I've had a couple of sessions out on the F3 and am getting to know it a bit better. Paul Ricard is tough to learn, it's so big there's little impression of speed and it's freezing cold. It's not the best chance to show off a new bike.
"It feels every inch a track-ready racer, it steers quickly, gives loads of feedback for grip and the brakes are superb. It's fast, but revvy - a Daytona 675 or GSX-R600 have a lot more grunt and a far smoother throttle.
"The throttle response on the F3 can be a little snatchy and hesitant depending in which of the four power maps you're in.
"Still a few more sessions to go to really get to know the MV..."