Johann Zarco feels Michelin’s special tyre specification for the Austrian MotoGP is hampering Yamaha’s progress even more than usual with less edge grip for him to exploit.

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider ended Friday practice as the fastest Yamaha rider but a lowly ninth place almost a full second off timesheet-topper Andrea Dovizioso for Ducati at the Red Bull Ring with the afternoon practice washed out by heavy rain.

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Michelin has provided a different rear tyre construction to cater for the relatively unique challenge the Austrian circuit produces with its series of long straights coupled with tight and slow corners.

Zarco says a reduced edge grip from the tyres is hurting his Yamaha package more than his rivals and fears he is already ‘at the maximum’.

“In the dry we feel that the tyres are not the same as last year because we know our bike and having the same bike that was working well last year and it was not working well this morning,” Zarco said. “So we need to work but it is difficult to find what to improve as we are at the maximum of what we are doing. It was a bit disappointing to not be fast like last year.

“I believe in the work we can do in the dry and I feel a lot of things on this track so I believe we need to work on very small things. I have many things I can say to the data guy and the technician to be ready for the dry conditions.

“At the moment it is good to be in this position as at least I am in Q2 but nine-tenths from Dovi on this short track is too much.

“To get this constant feeling during the race we have lost grip on the edge grip. We know that but here it is even more because like Michelin said edge grip is something less on this track because they don’t think it is necessary but for the Yamaha it is necessary.”

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