Ahead of this weekend’s MotoGP round at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic, Dorna, organisers of motorcycling’s premier race class, announced Finland will host a round of the MotoGP at the KymiRing circuit in Titti, currently under construction. As the only track of its kind in Northern Europe, KymiRing will see the return of the Finnish Grand Prix, an event absent from Finnish motorsports since the last motorcycle Grand Prix at Imatra in 1982, 35 years ago.

Located about 110 km north of the capital city of Helsinki, KymiRing will, when construction is completed next year, be 4.6 km long running clockwise, and will contain 18 corners, evenly split between left- and right-handers, with provision for division into two shorter circuits – GP East and GP West. The circuit is of international standard with FIA 1 and FIM A ratings, and will host a variety of motorsports classes, including Formula racing, Rallycross, Supermoto, WEC, DTM, WTCC, Porsche Cup, as well karting and the provision of race and driver training.

Signing on for a five-year contract, KymiRing is expected to host over 100,000 spectators in 2019, when it holds its inaugural MotoGP race. Meanwhile, news about the inclusion of Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, is still unconfirmed, although it is supposed to be included in the 2018 MotoGP calendar.

With the addition of KymiRing, and the possibility of Buriram in 2018, along with a rumour of a third addition in Indonesia, the MotoGP is getting crowded, with 20 rounds in 2019. This might mean pre-season testing will be curtailed, with an Asphalt and Rubber report saying that next year’s test will be shifted from Phillip Island, Australia to Buriram, with 2019 testing at only two locations – Sepang and Qatar.

It is said that the MotoGP teams are under some pressure from Dorna to minimise testing to just Sepang, but there is reluctance to accept this. However, expansion of the MotoGP calendar from the current 18 races to 20, or more, will only see grudging acceptance from team personnel, many of whom have families, and more racing means time away from hearth and home.

With the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix signed on to stay at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) till 2020 – 2016 saw a record spectator attendance of 160,000 people – and pre-season and tyre testing conducted here, it looks like the MotoGP schedule will see an average of a race every two weeks, with only a short break for summer and winter. It should be noted that all teams in MotoGP classes receive a subsidiary from Dorna for racing, not for testing, so this may play part in the expansion of the race calendar.