Michele Pirro left Finland slightly underwhelmed. He expected a lot of the Kymiring, a brand-new track built in record time, located roughly 100 km from the capital of Helsinki. Its ID card described a 4.6 km track with 18 turns - an apparent paradise for motorcylists, but it didn't all work in the best way.
“To be honest, it's possible to do better in 2019 - the Ducati test rider's first comment - The thing I like most about riding a MotoGP is using all the power, they could have considered that. Instead, from turn 5 onwards, you practically only use 1st and 2nd gear, and 3rd once, there's also only one usable straight. I carried out a test: I was able to complete one kilometre using only 1st gear”.
Michele doesn't want to write off the track, but these monster bikes with more than 250 HP need something else.
“I think that you can have fun with a Moto3, but you don't with a MotoGP. The design is very strange, there are many blind points and a lot of undulation, the problem is you can't exploit a MotoGP at all. As soon as you accelerate, you have to stop”.
It sounds a lot like Sachsenring, the calendar's toboggan-track..
“But that's an 'old school' track and in the final section there are some great turns. At the Kymiring you are at 350 Km/h down the straight and then have 15 turns in 3 kilometres. Austin has many turns too, but that track is a kilometre longer”.
The problem is not the inherent slowness of the Finnish tracj, but the risk of having races that are not exactly spectacular.
“As I've said, I expected something different from a new track. They could have inserted some long turns, or some hard braking. I didn't see many places in which to pass, there's only one hard braking point and often only one trajectory. The undulation is great, but there's not much else, only corners to link together. They could have come up with a design that would have offered the public more of a spectacle”.
After two days on the track, Pirro already knows who he'd bet on for the race win.
“This is a track where Marquez will have the advantage, he'll be able to make the difference through the changes in direction and the slow turns - he explains - For Ducati? The return straight is very long, but there's only one key braking point”.
The tests were also important in providing feedback as to any potential safety issues.
“That's always the most important thing and I appreciated the fact that Franco Uncini, Loris Capirossi and Mike Webb were there with us. We were able to provide feedback about any work to do and I'm sure there'll be no problems for the GP” concludes Michele.