Four players suspended
The National Football League issued two-game suspensions to four players on Friday for substance abuse violations, ending a three-year court battle. Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams, New Orleans defensive end Will Smith and two free agent defensive linemen not on NFL rosters, Charles Grant and Pat Williams, were issued bans six days before the NFL season begins. The NFL had imposed four-game bans on the players before a long legal fight that resulted in reduced suspensions. Kevin Williams and former Vikings teammate Pat Williams, who are not related, fought their suspensions starting for testing positive for the banned diuretic bumetanide in 2008.
Lorenzo clocks fastest time
Championship leader Casey Stoner had to make do with second best in Misano, Italy, on Friday as defending champion Jorge Lorenzo laid down the fastest free practice time for today’s San Marino Grand Prix. Stoner topped the first session, but Lorenzo, who was only sixth-fastest in the morning, came through in the second session to clock one minute, 33.929 seconds on his Yamaha. It left him 0.076 seconds clear of the Australian, whose Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa was third-fastest.
Senna to replace Heidfeld
Lotus-Renault have announced that Brazilian Bruno Senna will replace Nick Heidfeld for the remainder of the season after reaching a settlement with the German, which sees him leave the team with immediate effect. Heidfeld had been dumped by the team prior to the Belgian Grand Prix, leading to tensions and threats of a court battle. Senna, 27, was called up to replace Heidfeld at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend, where he drove to a 13th-place finish. Lotus-Renault said on Friday that an “amicable settlement” had been reached with Heidfeld, which “enables both parties to bring the matter to a close and concentrate on their respective sporting challenges in the future.”
Clemens to face trial again
A US judge on Friday refused to throw out the perjury case against baseball star Roger Clemens over steroid use after a mistrial was declared when prosecutors presented evidence that had been barred. Judge Reggie Walton agreed to start a second trial on April 17 next year over whether the former pitcher lied when he told the US Congress and investigators in 2008 that he had never taken steroids or performance-enhancing drugs. After a lengthy and costly investigation, Clemens was indicted for lying to Congress, perjury and obstruction.
Four runners burnt in fire
Four runners taking part in a three-day, 100km international ultramarathon have suffered serious burns after being trapped in a gorge by a wildfire in Western Australia state’s Kimberley tourist region. Royal Flying Doctor Service spokesperson Joanne Hill told reporters in a telephone interview yesterday that two women, believed to be from the eastern states of Australia and aged 36 and 24, were in critical condition at Darwin Hospital after suffering burns over 60 to 80 percent of their bodies. She said two men, aged in their 40s and 50s, had less serious burns following the Friday afternoon incident. The race, which was scheduled to end today, was later canceled.