Johann Zarco feels being second in the MotoGP world championship standings for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 satellite team makes his start to the 2018 campaign “a perfect situation” to fight for a maiden race win at his home round.

The French rider secured the runner-up spot behind Marc Marquez after Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa crashed out together ahead of him at Jerez to move up to second place in the riders’ standings.

With a 12-point deficit to Marquez, Zarco wants to keep grounded about any title aspirations but given Yamaha’s recent record at his home round having claimed three consecutive 1-2 finishes at Le Mans he is targeting a maiden MotoGP win this weekend.

“It is extra motivation [at home round] so that is pretty nice and a perfect situation to be second on the championship so I’ll keep dreaming about a victory,” Zarco said.

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“This was a good track for me last year and I discovered the Yamaha here works so well. Our bike is quite similar to last year so it should work well we just need to do the right things in the right moment to use it perfectly.

“Now I know the bike and at the Jerez test we played with the set-up of the bike to feel even more comfortable and I hope it will me to be competitive.”

Zarco, who recorded his maiden MotoGP podium at Le Mans 12 months ago, feels defending MotoGP world champion Marquez remains the rider to beat but is confident of producing a strong challenge at his home round this weekend having surpassed his own expectations at the start of 2018 to be second in the championship.

“It’s better than what I expected, this position, but as a rider I want to fight for the title one day,” he said. “If it is this season why not but it would be a good surprise.

“Marc is so strong in the last two races, stronger than us, but I’m feeling good on the bike. It doesn’t look too far to catch him so I’ll cross my fingers for that but at the moment I will think about the victory and we will see tomorrow. I’ll keep that target until Sunday.”

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