Class rookie Johann Zarco feels his confidence is continuing to grow in Australia, with Maverick Vi?ales' slip-sliding feats providing a reference for his own lines and approach to tackling a 250bhp MotoGP machine.

The Frenchman was once again impressive around Phillip Island on Thursday, as he ended the day eleventh fastest, with a time that was just half a second slower than second placed Marc Marquez.

Zarco found consistency too, and worked a lot on what he felt to be the weakest point of his riding at the moment: acceleration.

Thankfully, the double Moto2 champion found himself on track with the fastest man of the week, Vi?ales, who demonstrated that sprinkling of aggression that can take Yamaha's M1 to the next level.

"My weak points, even in Malaysia, was the acceleration," said Zarco, who improved his personal best time by a full second from day one to two.

"All the moments you open the gas, you need to pick up the bike and use the traction. This was my weak point. I could compensate in Malaysia because the corners are different but in Australia there are very long corners where you must stay on the gas.

"Maybe I have more problems and it's more difficult for me to be really fast. But three days here it's what I want to do many laps to understand how can I do it.

"It's great to also have Vi?ales as a reference because he's going really fast. He's sliding a lot with the bike. I'm not the kind of rider who wants to slide but he can show that even when you slide you can be fast. I'll try to touch this little bit to go up as a rider.

"Compared to Sepang it's a track that I have more problems. I'm more scared to crash in many corners because in Moto2 in the past I had many crashes. Confidence was not there in Moto2 and also in MotoGP I need time.

"But I'm really happy because in the two days I did now I could do many laps during all the day. It's a good sign to feel better on the bike. Also, for my condition, maybe I'm not doing 20 laps in a row but I can do good work all day.

"Today the lap times were getting better. They were really constant for my level. I could test the tyres and give my feeling, good comments for the tyres. In the end I could try to improve the lap time so it's good to go under the 1m 30s.

"I hope tomorrow I can restart on this pace. But really here in Australia it's good we can do many laps because the lap time in one lap is short. You can take time to understand things and these fast corners are really special. It's good to take control of the bike, get faster. With less wind today you can enjoy it more."

Pressed on his plans for Friday, Zarco added, "Keep going like this. I don't want to do too much because the confidence is also coming back. I want to use this test to grow up as a rider.

"As I said, Vi?ales is sliding a lot and he's going fast here. It's maybe the time for me to understand things. I want that. If I don't understand it tomorrow, it's not a disaster because I know that confidence is coming."