Calls to rebuild ‘boring’ KymiRing following fierce rider criticism

Even Finland's own Mika Kallio is calling on big changes to be made to KymiRing ahead of 2020 MotoGP debut because it is just too boring...

Stefan Bradl - Honda Racing Corporation

Mika Kallio has become the latest rider to throw negative feedback towards the owners of the new KymiRing MotoGP circuit amid calls to rebuild and reconfigure the layout to make it more interesting.  

The newly-built venue, located close to the town of Kouvola, opened its doors to a selection of MotoGP riders last month for the first time for a two-day test that preceded the announcement it would be included on the 2020 MotoGP World Championship calendar.

However, the feedback from riders was less than enthusiastic at best, with Sylvain Guintoli diplomatically suggesting people would ‘grow to love it’, while Michele Pirro said it was ‘too slow and not spectacular enough’.

Indeed, it is the latter opinion that seems most universally shared with even KTM test rider Kallio – Finland’s only high-profile MotoGP standard rider - twisting the metaphorical knife into the circuit ahead of what would be the first MotoGP race held in Finland since 1982.

Speaking to German publication Speedweek, Kallio even goes as far as suggesting the circuit needs to change its layout to make it more challenging and to promote more exciting racing.

"I said publicly at the test, you have to rebuild the track, there is no other way. I hope they listen to the riders. Because every driver has basically the same impression, everyone had the same feeling, the opinions were completely identical."

Why is the KymiRing so ‘boring’?

Videos from the test show the venue isn’t quite finished yet, even if the track layout itself is. Though a long 1km straight has been welcomed, the long, flowing bends have come into criticism for not allowing enough differentiation in racing lines and having no firm braking points.

In short, it’ll be very difficult to overtake on. 

"There is a straight line that is 1km long. So, you can say the first sector and this long line are OK. But then the whole route for MotoGP is much too slow.

"If you do not make any straight lines between the turns, there is not the slightest possibility to choose different lines - there is only one ideal line. With all these changes of direction there is only one line. 

"The rider behind you has no chance to take another line, because between the corners, the distances are too short, he has no time."

Could the KymiRing be rebuilt?

Kallio’s rather extravagant response given his status as Finland’s leading promotional figure for the event is both surprising and telling.

Indeed, MotoGP is generally rather strict when it comes to riders commenting on organisational matters, though the fact the KymiRing remains provisional pending an FIM homologation licence may explain why it hasn’t sent out a ‘whip’ to riders as yet. 

Alternatively, the conspiracy theorists amongst us wonder if this backlash could be from some corners of Dorna itself because it too isn’t happy with the circuit, but otherwise has no reason to not grant the homologation on the grounds of safety standards.