While Johann Zarco has been ‘given a smile and happiness’ from Yamaha’s unexpected speed turnaround in Thailand, he is still bracing for a challenging race given the demands on the tyres in the hot conditions.

Zarco slotted into the middle of the third row qualifying eighth place – 0.383s off pole-sitter Marc Marquez – and felt satisfied with his performance responding to a tough few rounds with the Yamaha package.

COTA #2 - Tremendous Turn 1

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider is wary of the YZR-M1’s issues for smooth acceleration which he fears will resurface over a race distance in Buriram as tyre life drops in the final laps.

“For me the main thing is the acceleration,” Zarco said. “We need to fight a lot to get some drive and fighting to get some drive makes the race more difficult because we can fight for one or two laps in qualifying, but 26 laps in the race, you need to have the help from the bike and for me I don't have enough.

“I cannot explain why we are going better here than in Aragon but at least we - the factory guys and me - must enjoy the moment.

“I'm happy at the three tenths, it's almost nothing and the feeling on the bike in qualifying was good. I could maybe have done an even better lap, one tenth better, but at least I'm there.”

Zarco confirmed he’ll stick with the hard Michelin rear and medium front but remains optimistic after a tricky few rounds.

“About the pace, we will struggle but I want to enjoy anyway, because I didn't enjoy my last two or three races,” he said. “Now I start the Asian tour and I want to take the good from all of it.

“For the race pace I'm not so slow but not so fast, so do at least two laps and then take what comes.”

Since taking second place at Jerez in early May, Zarco has failed to finish higher than seventh place at the following rounds coinciding with Yamaha's poor form over the summer rounds.