KymiRing, Finland

First COVID-19 Cancellations: Sachsenring, Assen, And Kymiring MotoGP Rounds Scrapped For 2020

So far, the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the 2020 MotoGP season has been to delay everything. But today, we had the first cancellations. The races at the Sachsenring in Germany, Assen in the Netherlands, and the Kymiring in Finland have all been canceled for 2020.

Canceling the remaining three races due to be held before the summer break gives Dorna and the FIM some room to see how the outbreak of the coronavirus plays out, as countries start to gently ease restrictions. There was too much uncertainty surrounding the three rounds in late June and early July to know under what conditions they would have been able to go ahead.

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Organizer Officially Announces Postponement Of Finland MotoGP Round

It was already apparent on Wednesday that the Finnish round of MotoGP would have to be postponed. Today, we have confirmation. Lahti Events, the promoter of the Finnish MotoGP round, announced on its website that the race, due to be held on July 12th, has been postponed.

The Kymiring circuit was still due to be homologated, but clement weather during a mild winter had allowed the contractors to make good progress on construction of the facilities at the track.

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Another Domino Falls: Finland Extends Ban On Large Events Until July 31

Yesterday, the Dutch government announced it was extending the ban on public events until September 1st, putting an end to hopes of racing in June. Today, the Finnish government have ended any hope of MotoGP racing in July. At a press conference on Wednesday evening, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced that all gatherings of over 500 people are to remain banned until July 31st.

That would make it impossible to hold the Finnish Grand Prix, due to be held on July 12th at the new Kymiring circuit, 130 km northeast of Helsinki. Although no announcements have been made officially, the race in Finland was the first race left on the calendar after announcements in Germany and The Netherlands made it impossible for the races at the Sachsenring and Assen to be held.

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2020 MotoGP Calendar Updated Again - Austin Postponed To November, Valencia Moved A Week

The ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has forced yet another change to the MotoGP calendar for 2020. Due to the restrictions on movement imposed in Italy, in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, the US round of MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, has been postponed until November.

The MotoGP paddock will gather in Austin on November 15th, instead of April 5th. November 15th was originally the date planned for the final round of MotoGP in Valencia, but to make way for Austin, Valencia has been pushed back a week, and will now be held on the weekend of November 22nd.

That means that as of today, March 10th, the MotoGP class will kick off their season at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina on April 19th, with the paddock returning to Europe two weeks later for Jerez.

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Grand Prix Commission Confirms Testing To Be Limited As Calendar Expands

Today, the Grand Prix Commission officially announced further restrictions on testing for the MotoGP class. Those restrictions were published last month on MotoMatters.com, including the news that the Brno and Valencia tests are to be dropped in 2020, with further reductions in 2021.

The idea is that as the calendar expands from 20 races next year to 22 in 2022, testing is reduced to reduce the workload and stress on the riders and teams. In 2020, there will still be two tests in February, at Sepang and Qatar before the season starts, and Monday tests after the Jerez and Barcelona races. 

The Brno test will be dropped, however, as it made for a very short week between the Brno and Spielberg rounds of MotoGP, especially for the crews who have to tear down and build up the hospitalities and garages before and after each race. 

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2020 Provisional Calendar - 20 Races, Finland Added, More Back To Back Races

The FIM have issued a provisional calendar for the 2020 MotoGP season, which sees the series expand to 20 races, and lays the basis for expansion to 22 races. The biggest changes are the addition of the Kymiring in Finland in July, and the moving of the Thailand round of MotoGP in Buriram from October to 22nd March.

The racing season kicks off as ever in Qatar, the MotoGP race being moved to the first week of March. From Qatar, the series heads east to Thailand, the MotoGP race taking the slot of the WorldSBK race at Buriram. Attendance for the WorldSBK round had fallen since MotoGP went to Thailand, and so the WorldSBK round is being dropped, with another overseas round to be held in its place.

From Thailand, the paddock heads east once again to cross the International Date Line and head to Austin, the US round moving up to become the third race of the year, ahead of Argentina. The Argentina Grand Prix takes place two weeks after Austin. 

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MotoGP Kymiring Test Finishes - Good Weather But Riders Critical Of The Track

The first official test at the Kymiring has wrapped up, the second day of testing taking place under much better conditions than the first day on Monday. The day started dry, though action didn't start until 11am, the riders losing an hour of time as the test was cut short by the weather.

On a dry track, times were considerably quicker than on Monday, when the track was both wet and dirty. Where riders were circulating in the 2'10s on Monday, Bradley Smith managed to get down to 1:47.540 on the Aprilia. 

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MotoGP Testing At Kymiring In Finland Gets Underway

Testing has come to an end after the first ever day of MotoGP action at the Kymring in Finland, six of the test riders for the six official MotoGP manufacturers turning some laps at the newly built circuit. Present were Stefan Bradl for Honda, Jonas Folger for Yamaha, Sylvain Guintoli for Suzuki, Mika Kallio for KTM, Michele Pirro for Ducati and Bradley Smith for Aprilia. Kallio was chosen over KTM's other test rider, Dani Pedrosa, to give the Finnish rider a chance to ride on his home track.

The test was convened mainly to give Michelin a chance to understand the stress the track will put on the tires. Although they have software which can simulate tire loads and wear based on the layout of the track and the abrasiveness of the surface, measured using special molds, that is always an approximation. Only actually riding on the track gives a complete picture of how much stress is placed on the tires, riders sometimes finding ways to go faster than models predict.

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2019 And 2020 Test Dates Announced

With the announcement of a test at the Kymiring in Finland, the test schedule for 2019 and off-season tests for 2020 has been finalized.

In addition to the three official post-race tests, held as always after the Jerez, Barcelona, and Brno MotoGP rounds, there will be a two-day private test open to all MotoGP teams to be held at Misano. That test will be held after the British round of MotoGP at Silverstone.

At the end of the year, there will be the traditional two-day test after the Valencia race, before the final test of 2019 at Jerez, on 25th and 26th November. 

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Finland MotoGP Race Draws Closer - Test Teams To Try Track In August

The chance of there being 20 races on the MotoGP calendar in 2020 drew closer today, with the announcement that the track will be ready to host a MotoGP test later this year. On the 19th and 20th August, the factory test teams will spend two days trying out the surface and facilities at the Kymiring in Finland. 

The circuit has let Dorna know that the track will be ready to host a test on those dates. There, the factory test teams will test the surface and gather data for Michelin, to allow them to select the appropriate tires for the race to be held there. 

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