There was little joy to be found in Johann Zarco’s Sunday afternoon at Misano as the Frenchman encountered familiar issues with acceleration while struggling to a disappointing tenth place finish.

Zarco described his task of challenging the top six as “so, so, so difficult” as he fought a losing battle. “You are opening the throttle at exactly the same time as the others,” he explained. “And then you are losing time.”

After encouraging results in the Czech Republic and Austria, and a fine showing while qualifying at Silverstone, Sunday’s 27-lap outing was a reality check. Zarco cut a dejected figure soon after, and even joked he may be capable of running faster than his M1 on the exit of bends.

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“I didn’t know what to expect from the race,” Zarco said. “I wanted to feel comfortable at the beginning and the work we did in warm-up helped me to ride the bike well into the first corners.

“It’s a shame I did a mistake – think it was on the second or third lap – at corner ten, because I lost three or four positions. I could not catch them back. Anyway, I know the problem we have. I know the weak point we have.

“It’s difficult to accept and then we have to keep working and find enjoyment on the bike and a good feeling. During the practice we are able to have that more or less. But then during the race when you have to do many laps in a row, there is a moment when it is becoming so, so, so difficult.

“I’m behind the others and I cannot stay with the others. That’s the point that makes me sad when I’m racing but motivated to feel that as long as we are pushing, I’m going to understand things that will help me for the future.”

Pressed on the limit he mentioned, Zarco continued, “It’s always the same: you are going into the corner the same as the others; you are opening the throttle exactly the same as the others; then you lose time.

“You don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I cannot run next to the bike because the bike is still going faster than what I’m running. But I wonder sometimes if I should get off [the bike and run].”

Attempting to maintain the pace of Andrea Iannone and Alavaro Bautista, who were not far ahead, was physically exhausting, he said. Had he finished tenth without breaking sweat, the result would have been easier to accept. As it was, Zarco was “totally down” after a draining afternoon.

“If I finish in tenth position or eleventh – without the crash of Jorge I was eleventh – I at least want to finish with some energy. But at the moment I finish in eleventh position and I’m totally down. I’m not fighting with the other guys; I’m fighting with my own bike and that’s not good.”

Zarco opted for Michelin’s soft front and rear compounds for the race despite track temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius. Did he feel this had any influence on his acceleration issues?

“It was the right choice,” he said, “because I didn’t have many options. I was right at the limit and if you take another tyre then you lose all the grip. Then if you lose grip the bike becomes impossible to ride and I don’t want that.

“The choice I think was OK. For sure I was spinning but I could try the other tyres over the weekend, even in the half-half conditions in FP3 and I could see that we weren’t fast. So I have to accept it. Maybe on another day something will come.”

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