Zarco, ten times a MotoGP runner-up, has finished fifth at Le Mans, fourth at Mugello, third at Catalunya and then second last Sunday at Sachsenring.

If he duly goes one better at Assen this weekend it would be Zarco’s first grand prix win since his Valencia 2016 farewell to the Moto2 class.

“Easier to say than to do it, but why not?” Zarco said. “It will be so fantastic to follow this logic and I think the tricky weather this weekend can help me.

“Let's see. Also, it will be a different kind of a strategy, because if we know it's raining in FP2 and in FP3, we’ll push straight away in FP1 to already qualify for Q2.

“But at the end the plan for the weekend remains the same, go straight in Q2 to prepare well your qualifying and then be on the first row, which gives you a bigger chance to play for the podium.

“Let's see also with this new fairing on the Ducati, which I think can help through the fast chicanes compared to last year. If we have this better feeling I can be competitive.”

That was Fabio Quartararo's BEST EVER ride! | Full Crash.Net MotoGP Podcast 51

Zarco starts the second half of the season as the top Ducati rider with third place in the world championship, albeit 61 points from countryman Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) and 27 from Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.

“I'm pleased with how it's going for me, because it didn't start as well as I started last season, with the two podiums in Qatar.

“But the results were coming in the last races and just for this I'm really happy.”

Johann Zarco set to stay at Pramac Ducati for 2023

While no contract has been signed, Ducati sporting director Paolo Ciabatti confirmed last weekend that Zarco is set to remain at the Pramac team for 2023.

“Having the factory Ducati in the Pramac team is already so good for me,” Zarco said. “So yeah, continue with Ducati - this we can say. It's not signed but it's almost 100% sure.

“I think they know more or less all the riders they will have in Ducati, just they are not 100% sure who to put next to Pecco. And joking, I was telling Ciabatti and Dall’Igna that if they have any hesitation between an Italian or Spanish one, they can take right in the middle, the French one!”

Quartararo also quipped that Zarco should be in the mix for the factory ride.

“If you check the last 5-6 races Johann has always been on the top, fighting for the podium. So he's for me the most consistent right now of Ducati.. and yeah, I don't understand why he's not going also to the full factory team!”

The decision on whether Bastianini or Martin gets the factory ride is expected in late August.

“With Jorge, we know each other since two years. So more or less the team is already made and that could be a good way to continue,” Zarco said, when asked if he had a preference for 2023 team-mate.

“With Enea, it would be a different, a bit time to learn each other maybe, but I can speak Italian well, but then also Jorge is speaking Italian so well, so even the way to speak would not change.

“But I think with Jorge it will be better because the mechanics, everyone, we are used to work together.

“With Enea, he has such a high feeling with his [Gresini] team, because three victories is so unique and he can have some more during this season.

“To break up this group is sometimes more difficult and it will be a pity to rebuild this with the Pramac team, that is already built with Jorge.”