After six poles, six podiums and coming agonisingly close to the first ever MotoGP win by a satellite M1, Johann Zarco's switch to the factory KTM team has so far yielded a best of just 13th place.

The Frenchman is far from the only rider to face difficulties after leaving Yamaha, regarded as one of the most rider-friendly machines on the grid, with Valentino Rossi famously struggling after joining Ducati in 2011.

The Doctor, who began his premier-class career with three titles for Honda, did not win again until he returned to Yamaha in 2013.

"In the last years three good riders - me, Lorenzo and also Zarco - have some problem when we stop with Yamaha. Me and Jorge with the Ducati and now Zarco with KTM," Rossi said, when asked for his opinion on the Frenchman's predicament at Jerez on Thursday.

"For me Yamaha maybe has some other weak points but it is a very friendly bike for the rider. And in the case of Zarco, that always used Yamaha in MotoGP, when you change the bike it's difficult.

"It's also true that it depends on which bike you go. But looks like the KTM is very different compared to our bike. Maybe it has some good points, but in some other areas it has more problems.

"So for me he don’t [have the right] feeling with the bike, because Zarco has demonstrated that he is very fast. So maybe he needs time and it's because the two bikes are quite different in the way to ride."

Current title leader Andrea Dovizioso used a successful 2012 season at Tech3 Yamaha as a springboard to the factory Ducati team. But the Italian went from six podiums on the M1, to zero during his first year with the Desmosedici.

"When you change the bike, the change is normally very big. But every bike have a different characteristic, different story and I can't know the real story from KTM. So I don’t know," he said of Zarco.

"I think everybody expected a bit more from the results from Zarco, but this maybe it shows the reality because the level in MotoGP is really high.

"The confirmation is also Yamaha. In the last two years they did good results but they struggled a little bit compared to the past because the level is really high and everybody works really hard and the development is constant."

Dovizioso added that Zarco may have underestimated the difference he would face at KTM, explaining how easy it can be to reach false impressions of another bike.

"I think it's quite normal what happened [with Zarco] because when you use one bike, just one manufacturer, you think you know more than you really know about the other bikes," Dovizioso said.

"And until you are on the bike it is impossible to know exactly. It happened to me and I think it happened to all or most of the riders. And it's normal.

"The bike I think is completely different, from Yamaha and KTM. I think he needs time and also KTM for sure at the moment is not at the level of Yamaha, or the other bikes. So it's normal and this is the reality of MotoGP."

Zarco's former Tech3 team-mate Hafizh Syahrin is yet to score a point on the RC16.

Both riders are hoping that the arrival of new parts at Jerez can help transform their fortunes.

"I don't want to always compare with the previous bike because it is a mistake," Zarco said on Thursday about KTM/Yamaha comparisons. "It is not good to think in this way and during these 15 days I understood that.

"We are doing some things to make the bike work better and where we are struggling the most is into the corner and the bike prefers to go straight! It’s difficult when you have a full championship with many corners! It would be good to improve the corners.

"The main target is still the top ten and it is the target I wanted from Qatar. I have been far in the last two races but it doesn't mean I will be far this weekend. It is like a new page we are writing all the time..."

 

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