Johann Zarco admits he doesn't know what to expect at this weekend's Aragon MotoGP, a circuit where he has only taken two podiums during eight appearances across three different grand prix classes.

“Aragon is a huge track where I was many times struggling, so it would be fantastic to maybe struggle less this year, but to be honest, I don’t know what awaits me," said the Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider.

"This year I seem to find issues in many places, [but] maybe this might be the track where I struggle less."

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Zarco is yet to break the top six since his runner-up finish at Jerez in May and has slipped to seventh in the world championship standings.

However, he is just nine points from top Independent rider Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and equal with Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Ducati), with six rounds to go before Zarco becomes a factory KTM rider.

Zarco was sixth and top satellite rider during his rookie MotoGP season.

"The target now is to ensure the best place for the first independent rider," Zarco confirmed. "The championship is tight between Crutchlow, Petrucci and me, so this is the first goal to be clever, take the points and finish in front of them till the end of the year.”

“The races since we returned from the summer break have been difficult," added team manager Herve Poncharal. "We are always targeting a potential top 5 and recently this is target has been unachievable.

"I would like to say that I still have 100 percent faith in Johann to reach this target, also as the team is working hard. In Misano he showed great determination and didn’t give up, but at the moment it’s not easy."

Team-mate Hafizh Syahrin was on the receiving end of a verbal rocket from Poncharal during a TV interview at Misano. The Malaysian rookie had been ahead of only Avintia stand-in Christophe Ponsson on Friday, ranked 25th again in qualifying, before an improved 19th (out of 23 finishers) in the race.

Syahrin has been lacking confidence in the front of his M1, but remains just two points from Franco Morbidelli (Marc VDS Honda) in their fight to be top 2018 rookie.

“I’m really looking forward to arrive in Aragón because the last two races I was not really good and we want to understand why, try to learn from the mistakes and will work hard from day one until the race," Syahrin said.

"I hope that I can find a good feeling with the bike during this last race weekend in Europe before we head over to the Asian and Australian rounds. I’m really happy with my work now, I train hard and try to be ready and I hope to arrive in Aragón with a good feeling and my body prepared 100 percent.”

Poncharal said: "Regarding Hafizh, we lost the rookie lead, but we’re only two points behind Morbidelli, which is a lot and nothing at the same time. Clearly, it is difficult to score points in the races right now, so we have to fight and see what we can do, but also in Hafizh we have a lot of faith.

"The weekend in Misano started not easy for him, but he ended up on a more positive note, so hopefully he arrives in Spain with the energy you need to have a strong MotoGP weekend.”

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