Finland to Join MotoGP in 2019
No year was set, but this changed Wednesday when Dorna announced that the Finnish GP at KymiRing circuit, which is about 100 miles from Finland’s capital on the Baltic Sea, Helsinki, will tentatively join the 2019 MotoGP schedule.
KymiRing will host MotoGP for five years, bringing back world-stage motorcycle racing to Finland for the first time since 1983.
KymiRing, located in Iitti, remains under construction, but is set to be finished and homologated for MotoGP ahead of 2019. About 100,000 spectators are expected at the MotoGP round.
Finland territory is nothing new to Grand Prix motorcycle racing. GP races were held in Tampere in 1962 and 1963, and from 1964-1983 the series moved to Imatra.
Since 1983, though, Finland has been hush, though it did provide the Grand Prix series with the Ajo team and Moto2 runner-up finisher (2014) Mika Kallio, who now competes aboard the Red Bull KTM in MotoGP.
The news was announced during a press conference at the circuit that included Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta; Dorna Sporting Manager Carlos Ezpeleta; Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport Sampo Terho, Chairman of the Board of the Directors of KymiRing Kari O. Sohlberg; Chair of the Finnish Motorcycling Federation Tapio Nevala; and KymiRing Project Manager Timo Pohjola.
Sampo Terho, Minister for European Affairs, Culture and Sport: “This is a fantastic announcement for Finland, a country passionate about motorsport and with an illustrious racing history. MotoGP will have a fantastic impact, both economically and in terms of exposure for the entire country and region. It also ensures our continuing role in the history of motorsport, and we are eager to write more chapters of that history together in the Finnish GP.”
Kari O. Sohlberg, Chairman of the Board of the Directors of KymiRing: ”MotoGP is one of the most popular sports in the world. The five-year contract made with Dorna Sports has significant impact not only on Finnish motorsport but on the whole of Finland. Finland has a good reputation as an organizer of big international events. A good example from the sporting side is the WRC Finland, Neste Rally held last weekend. Good reputation, the Imatra GP and legendary drivers and riders in addition to long term personal relationships have for sure been major facts when Dorna Sports has made the decision to bring back the Finnish GP.”
Timo Pohjola, KymiRing Project Manager: “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 love 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.”
Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO Dorna Sports: “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 on 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.”