Johann Zarco believes he will be much better prepared for a future flag-to-flag races in the MotoGP class after a gamble to change tyres at the Dutch Grand Prix backfired, leaving him a disappointing 14th.

Having started from his first premier class pole position, the class rookie led the first eleven laps of a thrilling four-way fight at Assen last Sunday, but opted to pit for wet tyres soon after a rain shower arrived on lap 19.

Zarco admitted to feeling fear when hustling his 260bhp Yamaha M1 through Assen's series of fast kinks and bends with rain spots collecting on his visor, and, speaking in Germany on Thursday, feels he learnt a valuable lesson from the encounter.

"I had time to learn from it," said Zarco, already a podium finisher in MotoGP. "I could learn watching the race. I watched the race two days after two days after and you can think better.

"What happened was just fantastic to lead the race for ten or eleven laps. It's the best way to learn the pace of these top guys. I was with them then began to struggle.

"When the rain came, it was the moment I was most scared. I didn't want to crash. What I could learn was that, with the slick Michelins, when we have some rain we can stay on track, as my opponents did.

"They stayed on track, even if they were slower. They were still going quite well. If I have the same experience from Moto2, the bike can slide more than what it was sliding with the MotoGP. That's why I stopped [to pit].

"Now, I know that seeing some rain, I can maybe stay on the bike [and] before a crash we will have some alarm. That's information from the tyre that I need some more experience to know it."

So, should rain arrive in the middle of Sunday's race at the Sachsenring, Zarco would know to brave the elements, and put his faith in Michelin's slick tyres?

"Exactly," came the response. "I would wait even if I cannot stay with them. Even if I don't want to take the same risk it's better to lose five seconds than 30 seconds."

The anti-clockwise Sachsenring circuit has been resurfaced for 2017, but no riders have had an opportunity to test the new asphalt, due to strict noise-level controls in place in the surrounding area.

Asked for his opinion on the new surface, Zarco said, "Still not [seen it]. Yesterday evening I wanted to go on the track but I was cold. Anyway, let's see. I will see it but I will adapt with how the track will be. For me every track is new. I need to take new references on the bike so I cannot speak too much about the feeling. I need to live it to take something."

By Neil Morrison

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