Grand Prix motorcycle racing will return to Finland for the first time since 1982 with the KymiRing signing a five-year contract to host MotoGP. The venue in Iitti, currently under construction, is expected to provide substantial economic benefits in Southern Finland with the KymiRing Motorsports Complex planning to hold 100,000 spectators.
The news is likely to place pressure on other circuits with the current 18-round calendar already thought to close to the limit, but Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta expects the KymiRing to prove a hugely popular addition.
“It’s a big pleasure to announce the agreement we have with KymiRing and the works are now underway. We will propose to the FIM to have Finland in the MotoGP calendar for 2019. This is a great day as it´s so many years since the Imatra GP here in Finland and we are very proud to announce this new venue. Finland has been a traditional place for motorsport. It has had number of fantastic riders in MotoGP in the past. I remember Jarno Saarinen and recently Mika Kallio, and many other people have raced. Finnish people understand motorsport very well and I think KymiRing will be hosting incredible events in the future. The layout of the circuit is very nice, it’s fast and it’s safe, and we’re very happy to announce this today.”
Given Finland’s rich history in motorsport across two and four wheels, KymiRing Project Manager Timo Pohjola is fully confident the Finnish GP will prove a success.
“This is something we’ve wanted for many years and now it’s true. I think the layout is based on Finnish racing experience – Finns loves motorsport and that’s why we want to make a special layout and track for MotoGP, something new. We are the only international circuit in northern Europe and that’s why so many other countries are interested in Kymiring. The first Finnish champion was Jarno Saarinen, then in Formula 1 we had Keke Rosberg and Mika Hakkinen and so on, but motorcycling has always been very popular in Finland.”