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KymiRing: Finnish MotoGP Circuit Tested for First Time

A race in Finland at the KymiRing will be on the calendar next year for the MotoGP series. GP motorcycle racing for the Premier class last appeared in Finland in 1982. Understandably, international and local racing authorities are ecstatic about the return of the sport to this country, and the opening of the new 2.85 mile, 18-turn circuit (see illustration).

Here is a press release from MotoGP:

“It’s a dream come true” – MotoGP™ authorities on KymiRing

Representatives of Dorna Sports, FIM, Finnish Motorcycle Federation, the KymiRing and KTM offer their first thoughts on the Finnish circuit

Earlier this afternoon a Press Conference was held at the KymiRing with FIM President Jorge Viegas, Timo Pohjola (KymiRing Circuit Director), Tapio Nevala (President of the Finnish Motorcycle Federation), Aki Ajo from KTM and Carlos Ezpeleta of Dorna Sports all present.

All six sung the praises of the Finnish circuit just hours after the first MotoGP™ track action took place with, fittingly, Finland’s very own Mika Kallio becoming the first MotoGP™ rider to lap the KymiRing aboard his KTM RC16.

FIM President, Jorge Viegas, began the Press Conference by admitting what a privilege it was to be present for MotoGP™’s first visit: “Finland is one of the countries with the most tradition in motorsport. I have been in this position, I have been managing circuits in my country 20 years ago, so I know what it’s like to have the pressure of Dorna and the FIM all coming. I thank you all for the privilege of being here for the first time.”

Next, President of the Finnish Motorcycle Federation, Tapio Nevala, described how it felt to finally have track action at the KymiRing and in Finland: “It’s a dream come true. It’s really a big dream to have MotoGP bikes in Finland. It’s very important for us and for Finnish motorsport and for MotoGP, of course.”

Timo Pohjola, KymiRing Circuit Director, outlined the hard work that had been put in to make sure the test went as planned over the recent months: “We will continue the work that we have done. A lot of work is to be done. We have one year to do everything but the most important thing for safety reasons is to have the test here as after that we know exactly where we will have the curbs and so on. So, this is very important but also for the teams. Overall, I’m very happy. It has been a long journey.”

Carlos Ezpeleta, Dorna Sports Sporting Director, couldn’t pinpoint the exact date of the 2020 Finnish Grand Prix, but praised the work of the circuit and the Finnish Federation for today being a huge success: “We’re working with the FIM to publish the calendar, it’s always up to the FIM to release it first. I think in the following weeks we’ll have a date but right now it’s too early to say. It’ll be in the summer for sure as there’s no other option. It’s too early to say exactly though.

“I visited for the first time with Franco Uncini maybe three years ago now and honestly, it’s a great place. I have to congratulate Timo and the Finnish Federation for the work they have done because it’s truly impressive that we have bikes on track today. The past few months have been hard work, but I must congratulate them because the job they have done is of a high standard.

“We’re very happy to have Finland back on the Grand Prix calendar because it’s one of the countries with the most tradition in motorsport. The standards for a MotoGP track now are very high, both on and off track, with run-off areas and paddock and so on and the plan is to accommodate all of them.”

And finally, an emotional Aki Ajo explained his delight to wake up at his own home this morning ahead of a MotoGP™ test: “I have been dreaming for years about this, to have this kind of track and a MotoGP race in Finland. It was a special feeling for me this morning to wake up in my home bed before a MotoGP test isn’t something I’ve done before. It’s really important to have the first action here and now is the time to see what they need to do to finalise everything here and then have great races in the future.”

Once track action comes to a close later today, all six MotoGP™ test riders present at the KymiRing will be a part of a second Press Conference. Stay tuned to motogp.com as we bring you the thoughts of the riders on a historic day in Finland.


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36 Comments

  1. Herman Greinstein says:

    I would love to attend please send paddock pass prices.
    Thank you
    Herman

  2. Bubba Blue says:

    Never mind that, aren’t there any new for 2020 model announcements?

    • Reginald Van Blunt says:

      All sports are foolish substitutes for warfare, except Russian women’s hand grenade toss. Can we just get back to motorcycles, and leave racing to all the heroic young men that are actual participants ?

  3. Mark says:

    Here in the US, why would we want to watch motorcycle racing when we have exciting sports like baseball or NASCAR?

  4. dt-175 says:

    is this track bikes only, like assen, or will formula 1 race there as well? can a guy ride his bike right up to the fence inside turn 8 or turns 10/11? part of the beauty of ama nationals at brainerd int’l raceway was access to the infield WITH YOUR MOTORCYCLE. walking around inside of a giant roadrace circuit is counter productive. the kids can’t do it and the wife won’t. I was at BIR when Wayne Rainey was #60…

  5. RonH says:

    When I’ve introduced MotoGP to friends they’re amazed and impressed and sometimes now are followers.
    People here are manipulated into watching and paying for ball sports from grade school and on. Plus its just another example of how the media influences the masses. When Nickey Hayden won the world championship it was barely covered, but some football player gets hurt it’s big news.

  6. Bill C says:

    I live in Indy, and it was great to have the MotoGP race here while it lasted. The track was lousy, and the Motor Speedway does not lend itself to being a great facility for road racing.
    The old Indianapolis Raceway Park, which is now called Lucas Oil Raceway, is in the middle of a big renovation to it’s drag strip and oval track. The last phase will be rebuilding the road racing circuit. The facility’s biggest event is the NHRA Nationals, and it is sure to be able to handle a MotoGP crowd. They used to have an AMA National there back in the 60’s, who knows, maybe in a few years we could have MotoGP back in the Midwest.
    The city of Indianapolis was very welcoming to the bike crowd, as a lot of people here have said. It would be fantastic to get that whole scene back.

  7. Rapier says:

    Why was Laguna nixed?

    • Jeremy says:

      Laguna just couldn’t afford to stay in the game. The state of Texas contributes a lot of money to bring the race to COTA. It likely wouldn’t be a profitable venture for the track without that funding. California doesn’t contribute, so Laguna basically just got outbid.

      • TimC says:

        I thought the bikes were also getting too fast? And possibly, too loud (as in, lower dB limits at the track, not a change in the bikes themselves in this regard)?

  8. mickey says:

    I also went to the Indy rally, but to tell the truth, as far as actually watching the race, I prefer watching the MotoGP package where you get to see all the important stuff close up and often in slow mo. When physically at the track all I could see were a few corners and part of the front straight unless you watched it on the video board which is not as clear as watching it at home…although it’s much larger. I do miss the overall excitement and buzz and energy at the track on race day while sitting by myself on the couch.

    • Jeremy says:

      Yeah, the video pass is the best thing that has ever happened with respect to actually watching the races, FPs, and qualifying (I try to convince every race fan I meet to buy it!), but the buzz and atmosphere surrounding a race weekend at the track is a lot of fun. When I lived in TX, I’d go to COTA every year. It isn’t a good track for motorcycle racing and is typically one of the dullest races of the season, but everything else going on sure makes it a lot of fun. Plus, I have the live race streaming on the phone, as well, to keep up with what’s happening on the parts of the track I can’t see and to listen to the commentary. Best of both worlds!

      • mickey says:

        yea at first all I was interested in was Q2 and the race, but I have since gotten in the habit of watching all the FPs, Q1, Q2 and the race, and can do it all at my leisure. No more getting up at 4 am or 5 am to watch something. MotoGP’s video pass is great.

  9. Ricardo says:

    It truly puzzles me how other countries, like Spain, with much less money than the USA, can do MotoGP better and build new race tracks. We do have the COTA circuit with MotoGP, but we used to have Laguna Seca and Indianapolis speedway.
    I live 30 minutes from Indy and always attended the MotoGP in Indy, it was a blast and the downtown motorcycle gathering was in the thousends of people. Now I go to COTA and is a great event but I think we could do one more grand prix in the USA.

    • The US doesn’t have the same motorcycle racing following that Europe has. The Indy GP was great, but the cost was just too great, they had to employ 3x the staff than COTA because they would close down 3/4 of IMS due to it’s enormous size. I agree, we need a proper road course in the Mid-west, but it won’t happen until the fan-base matches that of even a small European country.

      • Jabe says:

        I also attended the Indy GP’s. I loved the racing but didn’t think much of the track and neither did most of the racers from what I understand.

        At one race I was told there were over 90 thousand spectators, which would be impressive here in the states, but I saw more empty seats than spectators. The place has permanent seating for over a quarter million people. Go there when the I 500 or the Brickyard 400 is running and you see what Americans really want to watch in motorsports.

        I watched a MotoAmerica Superbike race recently and felt like I was one of only a dozen people who watched it. No spectators, ridiculously small grid of about 14 bikes, track was bumpier than that bad road your cousin lives on. And yet promoters can fill small stadiums with people to watch a bunch of idiots with big trucks running over cars. I don’t get it.

        • Brian says:

          What you said. I subscribe to the MotoAmerica streaming service and always end up shaking my head at the deserted stands. (For comparison, check out BSB races on YouTube.) Given the quality of much of the racing I’ve seen, despite small grids, it blows my mind that people would rather watch NASCAR…but I suppose they don’t know what they’re missing. Or they’re like the guy I talked to at a gas station the other day. Just got his very first bike, a Shadow 1300. I’m on a Super Duke. “Is that one of them crotch rockets? I don’t like crotch rockets.”

          ‘Murica.

    • Dave says:

      It’s simply that more of their citizens want to watch motorsports and ours don’t. Their national series are also much stronger than anything in the US.

      • Stuki Moi says:

        +1

        Just visit Spain and rent anything on two wheels for awhile. It’s motoculture on a whole ‘nother level than in our backwards little weirdoworld; where narrow, nimble two wheelers are forced to pretend they are full size trucks when rolling up to an intersection, or down a gridlocked highway; and get fined for parking anywhere a Chevy Suburban full of fatsos wouldn’t fit.

        Spain’s getting worse as well, as their own self-righteous-geezers-with-home-equity keeps trying to bring everyone down to the same decrepit mobility level their own increasingly SUV caged selves are limited to. But it is still light years ahead of even the most enlightened parts of the US.

    • Brian says:

      Indy was a much easier trip for me (500 miles) than Austin (1,200). It took a while, but I finally got to Austin this year. Indy may not be the most exciting track for the riders, but IMO as someone buying general admin tix, it was a superior experience as a spectator. Unless you drive an RV to Austin, you can’t get anywhere near the long straight…and after staking out a spot at one of the best viewing locations on track (Turn 10), on race day they had the big-screen monitor there turned off!

      As for the city…my impression of Austin wasn’t so great. Nothing says “Come back next year!” like homeless encampments that take up entire city blocks, and e-scooter-strewn sidewalks.

      Doubt it’ll happen, but if we can’t have two GPs in the US, I’m at least hoping for a return to Indy. Maybe if the bumps at COTA continue to turn it into a paved motocross track…

      • HS1.., says:

        It’s an interesting question of which USA city would be the best host for MotoGP. Indy has great motor sports history and the upper Midwest has a motorcycle culture. It’s so much taken a land pirate bent that performance isn’t as important as it use to be.

        A California city would make some sense with the sportbike culture there, but I don’t suspect that their political structure would invest in making a world class motor sports event work. Land use zoning would also be interesting. The current track there wouldn’t cut it.

        Texas, Arizona, and Florida could work with weather favoring an early season event and motorcycling in general. The Phoenix area has cheap flights and some motorcycle interest. They don’t have much clay in their soils. They are now the nation’s sixth most populated metro area.

      • TimC says:

        Homeless encampments are increasingly common in places where the political climate facilitates it….

        • Mick says:

          The political climate will continue to create homelessness. Get used to it. The rich are starting to run out of people to get richer from.

          • mickey says:

            I love how people like to vilify those who got an education, worked hard, worked smart, took risks and ultimately became successful and employed other people. Those bastards!

        • Mick says:

          I have no problem with earned success. Using that success to buy politicians to create unearned success is where I draw the line.

          My tax rate is less than half of yours because of these people. Thanks for supporting that nonsense pal.

      • RRocket says:

        I agree. The Indy MotoGP was fantastic. I love the history and venue. Most people don’t know but the first races at Indy were motorcycles in the early 1900s.

        But not only was the race and venue great…but the extra activities. They also had the Indy Mile on the same weekend..with Kenny Roberts doing some hot laps on his TZ750. And downtown? They had the entire core downtown of Indianapolis closed to car traffic and open for bikes only. They had projectors projecting MotoGP races on the sides of buildings! And the locals and businesses who no doubt rely on revenue from race visitors were beyond friendly, accommodating and overall just fantastic.

        I really love Indy..and wish MotoGP would return.