After scoring 58 points during the opening four races of the 2018 MotoGP season, Johann Zarco has collected just 23 in the four that followed.

Zarco had high hopes of an upturn in Germany after a 'good' opening day when, although only 18th on the timesheet, he was confident that much of the 0.902s deficit would be found with a new set of tyres on Saturday morning.

But it didn't happen.

While Zarco found half-a-second, his rivals dropped their lap times by the same margin meaning the deficit was a virtually identical 0.862s. That left the Frenchman in 15th position, forcing a visit to Qualifying 1.

Zarco dropped back to 20th in final practice (+1.1s) and then qualified in 14th, missing the cut for Qualifying 2.

"Yesterday I was quite happy and today I don’t understand why we cannot improve and do better," Zarco said. 

"It's really difficult to accept. I tried the best. I tried to improve where I'm weak and tried to understand where I have to do better and what I can ask to the team. 

"But we didn't find it, so it makes me sad and it puts me in a difficult situation to start the race tomorrow and to fix a good target."

Zarco confirmed that he is struggling with the same grip issues mentioned by the factory Movistar Yamaha riders.

"I would say the same because even with the soft tyre you go for your first lap in qualifying and you are already sliding. So when you slide on your out-lap you really wonder how you can push more to beat your opponents."

Quizzed on the drop in form since he fell from the lead group at Le Mans, Zarco replied:

"I don’t understand what's happened. As I said we started the weekend with good things in our hands to control the situation and finally at the end of the Saturday we are not there. 

"Maybe this one is the worse one of all the last three weekends. It looks a little bit more like Mugello. Mugello I was not fast. In Barcelona some better and Assen was a difficult weekend. I was competitive just not lucky to start in eighth position. 

"Here once again it's eight tenths but eight tenths look a lifetime. I don’t know what I can say. What was better at the beginning of the season, or maybe we are still doing well but the others are now doing better? That's maybe another way to see it. 

"But for sure tomorrow I will keep fighting. I cannot not fight. It's not in my mind."

Unfortunately, on paper at least, Zarco doesn't have the race pace to fight at the front.

"The good race pace will be under the 1m 22. Maybe '21.7 and for every lap. Yesterday I was able to get it, almost, for one lap with used tyre. Today I was in more like 22.0-22.2. It means if I have this same race pace tomorrow I won't be in the top group."

Nonetheless, Zarco said he is keeping a cool head as he tries to improve the situation.

"Yeah I'm not so angry anymore and the cool Zarco is there. I'm just disappointed at the moment because we cannot feel the improvement and that is the difficult point at the moment."

Despite his slowing score-rate, Zarco is fourth in the world championship and the top satellite rider heading into Sunday's race.

Team-mate Hafizh Syahrin will start 18th.

"In the last exit of the Qualifying I was a bit nervous, but I believed that I could go 0.2 or 0.3 seconds faster and therefore, we would have been able to fight for the top 15. Yet, we were very close.

"I will try to make a good start tomorrow and to do a strong race in order to score some points for the team. I hope I can fight with my fellow rookie Nakagami, who seems to be very strong here.”

Nakagami will start from twelfth position.

 

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