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Q&A: David Garcia - The Proton connection

11 March 2002

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.

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.

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.

Q:
You are lucky to have a family motor sport background. How much difference does it make?

David Garcia:
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.

Q:
Did your family support your motorcycle racing.

DG:
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.

Q:
What was the path of your career?

DG:
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.

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!

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.

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.

Q:
You didn't stay with the team in 2000. What happened?

DG:
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.

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.

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.

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.

From that day, everything changed again. It felt as though I had a new life!

Q:
And a new title - winning the European Championship on 250s. Was that a direct result of signing with Danny?

DG:
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.

Q:
Now you have a new connection with Proton Team KR. What is the importance of that?

DG:
My goal is to race in the MotoGP class. I hope this will be a step in that direction.

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.

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.

Q:
Some personal questions - what are your hobbies, away from bike racing?

DG:
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.

Q:
Do you have a girlfriend?

DG:
I have a very nice girlfriend for the past two years - Reyes. She understands that at the moment motorcycle racing comes first for me.

Q:
How about music?

DG:
All sorts, but I supposed pop-Latin is my favourite. The last CD I bought was Enrique Iglesias.



David Garcia - Career highlights:

Born: Almeria, Spain - September 5, 1978
First Race: 1988 (kart)
First Motorcycle Race: 1990
1995: Spanish 80cc championship
1996: Spanish 125cc GP championship - First
1997: European and Spanish 125cc championship
1998: Spanish 250cc championship - Third
1999: 250cc World Championship - Yamaha
2000: 250cc World Championship - Aprilia, part season only
2001: 250cc European Championship - Honda - First


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