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Mar 12, 2002

Q&A With Proton Team KR Test Rider David Garcia

From a press release:<BR><BR>DAVID GARCIA: THE PROTON CONNECTION <BR> <BR>Reigning European 250 champion David Garcia joined Proton Team KR this year, as tester and back-up rider. The 23-year-old Spaniard from Almeria will not only test the continual stream of developments from the team's engineering base in England, but hopes also to race as a wild card entry at some GPs. <BR><BR>David will also run a full Spanish 600 Supersport championship campaign – a class where technical regulations have been liberated this year in line with the new four-stroke MotoGP class. The production-based bikes will be allowed to race on full slick racing tyres, with race-spec brakes and suspension. <BR><BR>Garcia has a unique asset – his father developed and owns the Almeria racetrack in Andalucia, so that he has private test facilities available on his own doorstep seven days a week. <BR> <BR><BR>Q: You are lucky to have a family motor sport background. How much difference does it make? <BR>A: My father was always involved – in karting and in rallying. When I was growing up, he owned a go-kart track, and I played on it a lot. My first race was when I was 10 – I took the place of another boy, and won first time. I had a lot of success in karts, but the first time I tried riding a motorcycle round the kart track, I had a big crash – but I was hooked. From then on, motorcycles came first. <BR> <BR><BR>Q: Did your family support your motorcycle racing. <BR>A: Yes – but my studying had to come first. I was racing just as a hobby, on 80cc clutchless bikes. But whether I could race depended on my results at school. No results, no racing that weekend. Later when I got more serious about racing, I agreed with my father to try also to continue studying. I started at university, but I didn't finish the first year. I was only thinking about motorcycles and racing, and I realised to be successful in racing, you have to give it 100 percent of your attention. <BR> <BR><BR>Q: What was the path of your career? <BR>A: I always had support from BP, when I was karting and also on motorcycles, and they continued as my sponsor in the 80cc championship, although I was still racing as a hobby. In 1996 I started to compete seriously in championships, and I won the Spanish championship on the 125cc GP class. <BR><BR>Then came a difficult year, in 1997. I was very fast, but also very dangerous. I was racing 125s in Spanish and European championships. Six times I was leading the race and crashed out on the last lap! <BR><BR>In 1998 I moved to the 250 class for the first time, and had a good season. I finished third in the Spanish championship, behind Luis d'Antin and Jose Cardoso, both of them Grand Prix riders. So I was the first national rider in the championship. <BR><BR>After that year, d'Antin had the Antena 3 Yamaha GP team, and he hired me and Fonzi Nieto as riders. Most of the time I was ahead of Fonzi, but the bike that year was very uncompetitive, and we didn't get any good results. <BR> <BR><BR>Q: You didn't stay with the team in 2000. What happened? <BR>A: It was a question of money. Fonzi could bring backing, and d'Antin found another rider who could do the same. I couldn't bring any backing, so I lost the ride. But I have no complaints about the way d'Antin treated me. If I had been in his position, I would have done the same thing. <BR><BR>I got a 250 GP ride with another team – PR2, but there were a lot of problems, mainly money again, and I did not finish the season with them. <BR><BR>That was a very bad time for me. My confidence had gone, I was just 20 years old, with no manager and no sponsors, trying to do everything for myself. I picked up my coat and went looking for sponsors, but at the end of that year I decided it was hopeless, and I more or less decided to quit racing. <BR><BR>Danny Amatriain somehow heard about my position, and called me. The same day I was on a plane to Barcelona, and signed a contract with him as my manager. He was a racer before, and now he had many connections, with sponsors and with the Monlau Fortuna team … Monlau is a training school for racing mechanics. <BR><BR>From that day, everything changed again. It felt as though I had a new life! <BR> <BR><BR>Q: And a new title – winning the European Championship on 250s. Was that a direct result of signing with Danny? <BR>A: Yes. I raced a TSR Honda 250 for Monlau Fortuna, and with the right backing I was able to achieve the results I always felt I was capable of. <BR> <BR><BR>Q: Now you have a new connection with Proton Team KR. What is the importance of that? <BR>A: My goal is to race in the MotoGP class. I hope this will be a step in that direction. <BR><BR>My confidence is very high now. I feel that I can win anything. I am racing again with Monlau Fortuna, in the Spanish 600cc championship. That is for me a preparation for MotoGP, because of the new regulations for slick tyres and racing brakes and suspension. <BR><BR>I will also be testing the Proton KR3, and I hope racing it – also getting MotoGP experience. It is a fantastic team, and Kenny Roberts is an inspiration for many riders, including myself, so I am very pleased with this opportunity to prove myself. <BR> <BR><BR>Q: Some personal questions – what are your hobbies, away from bike racing? <BR>A: Karting, and I am very interested in car motor sport. I have a track-racing Renault Clio in the back of my truck, with almost 400 horsepower! I am able to use that on the Almeria circuit. I am also buying a CBR600 Honda, to practice there as well. <BR> <BR><BR>Q: Do you have a girlfriend? <BR>A: I have a very nice girlfriend for the past two years – Reyes. She understands that at the moment motorcycle racing comes first for me. <BR> <BR><BR>Q: How about music? <BR>A: All sorts, but I supposed pop-Latin is my favourite. The last CD I bought was Enrique Iglesias. <BR> <BR> <BR><BR>DAVID GARCIA – CAREER HIGHLIGHTS <BR><BR>Born: Almeria, Spain – September 5, 1978 <BR><BR>First Race: 1988 (kart) <BR><BR>First Motorcycle Race: 1990 <BR><BR>1995: Spanish 80cc championship <BR><BR>1996: Spanish 125cc GP championship – First <BR><BR>1997: European and Spanish 125cc championship <BR><BR>1998: Spanish 250cc championship – Third <BR><BR>1999: 250cc World Championship – Yamaha <BR><BR>2000: 250cc World Championship – Aprilia, part season only <BR><BR>2001: 250cc European Championship – Honda - First <BR>