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GP Week : Issue 84A
AFTER the most desultory season starts in living memory -- three races spread over a seeming interminable seven weekends, riders and crews are looking forward to the intense middle period of the season, starting next weekend with the Italian GP at Mugello. Over that and the next six weekends, MotoGP will rattle off six races, with just two weekends off. "Now we have a lot of races in a row. It's better. It's normal," said Rossi, although his persistent shoulder problems mean he has benefitted from the stretched-out schedule and the postponement of the Japanese GP. "It's better for keeping the concentration," he added. Fiat-Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo agreed: "It is hard physically and hard mentally, but for me it would be okay to race every weekend," he said. There is a weekend off after Mugello, but from there the schedule is hectic, with the circus moving from Britain to the Netherlands to Catalunya on consecutive weekends. Another clear weekend is followed by the German GP, and then directly by the MotoGP- class only US GP at Laguna Seca. There is a similar punishing run later in the year, with the Japanese, Malaysian and Australian GPs on consecutive weekends from October 3 to October 17. WORLD Superbike champion and top MotoGP rookie Ben Spies has been hit with a US $1.9-million bill from his former manager, after a US arbitration tribunal found against the Texan racer last week. Spies, who was criticised by the tribunal for failing to provide credible answers to questions, had also expressed himself surprised by the knowledge that his mother/ manager Mary Spies owned a controlling interest the company Speez Racing, which the tribunal described as his "alter ego". The Tech 3 Monster Yamaha rider did not attend the hearing, which reached its decision in the week after the French GP. The news broke in a report on the American website Roadracingworld. com, following release of documents concerning the case on May 20. The dispute was between former manager Doug Gonda and the Spies family organisation. Speez Racing. The contract with Gonda's company had been terminated by Mary Spies in April 2009, alleging sundry failures of performance including failing to secure a MotoGP ride for Spies. The tribunal ruled that this had been "wrongful termination", and awarded the company $1.9-million in costs and damages. Footnote: Spies is not the only MotoGP rider with money worries. Rizla Suzuki's Loris Capirossi is also facing fresh demands for two million Euros from Italian tax authorities, who doubt his claim to live in Monaco. This is part of a long-running dispute, and an initiative by Italian tax authorities to target celebrities in the hope of cracking a culture of tax evasion. Rossi was pursued in the same way over the winter of 2007/2008, ending up paying 35- milion Euros in settlement. Rossi: The season starts at Mugello Spies clobbered by $1.9m damages bill ability to heave the bike from one angle of lean to another. Shoulder injuries can pose serious problems for a racer: Carl Fogarty's career was ended by just such an injury, and something similar spoiled Sete Gibernau's return last year. With his younger team-mate Lorenzo making hay and an intense period of week-in week- out racing coming up, any continued problems for Rossi could cost him dear. Medical opinion acknowledges that recovery can be slower in patients beyond the age of 30, as is Rossi. Spanish 125 racer Marc Marquez suffered a fully dislocated shoulder at Jerez, but was back racing to a rostrum finish at Le Mans three weeks later. Marquez is 17. Moto GP news >> 17