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Rio race axed from MotoGP calendar

Eventual winner Makoto Tamada (left) leads last year's Rio MotoGP

LONDON, England -- The Rio Grand Prix has been dropped from the MotoGP calendar for the 2005 season and replaced by the first Turkish Grand Prix.

"Following the lack of a signed contract, the Rio Grand Prix is cancelled," said the International Motorcycling Federation. "The Turkish Grand Prix will take place on the new circuit of Istanbul on October 23."

The Portuguese round of the 17-race championship at Estoril has been moved from October 30 to April 17 to replace the Rio race.

A Brazilian race has been on the grand prix world championship circuit intermittently since the late 1980s and in recent years has been held at the Nelson Piquet circuit in Rio de Janeiro.

Last year's Rio race was the only grand prix in the Americas but this year the championship returns to Laguna Seca in the USA for the MotoGP class only.

The new Hermann Tilke-designed circuit on the Asian side of Istanbul was already scheduled to host a Formula One grand prix for the first time on August 21.

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