Johann Zarco noticed an immediate improvement on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha compared to Mugello on the first day of the Catalunya MotoGP.

The French rider was eighth fastest overall on Friday, lapping in 1m 39.633s as he finished seven tenths down on pacesetter Jorge Lorenzo.

Zarco has hailed the recent test at the Spanish circuit as a major benefit and is now eager to build on his progress throughout the weekend.

“First day in Catalunya, better feeling than Mugello. I'm pretty happy that the test we did helps us to have this better base, and I immediately feel good. It makes me happy on the bike,” he said.

“Because you go, and then you see that finally as a rider you are able to go fast. So it's pretty important. Now we need to always find a better solution to be faster and find the very high pace to fight for the podium.

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“So that's the target this weekend, as usual. I think here we can catch it, so stay cool and find a solution to improve.”

Zarco came off during FP2 in the afternoon but was more concerned by a big moment that he survived in the morning session on the satellite M1.

“It was quite warm this afternoon and we tried with the medium tyres, and I lost the front. A bit too much lean angle,” he explained.

“This kind of crash can happen, maybe after more laps it can be better but it was my third lap, so maybe my tyre was not ready. So a little slide, that was not a big problem.

“This morning was more scary than the crash in the afternoon, because in corner 12, I had a problem with the rear brake, the rear brake locked a little bit, and at this high speed when you lean the bike, if something is a little bit wrong on the bike, you can immediately have a big moment and be fast in the gravel.

“[I am] Pretty happy that I did not crash, didn't touch my confidence too much and I could go again and feel good.”

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