Johann Zarco has left the Sepang pre-season test in an upbeat frame of mind following his three-day debut on the Avintia Ducati.

The French rider missed the post-season tests in November through injury recovering from a nasty blow when he was accidentally hit by Iker Lecuona’s KTM when the pair suffered separate falls at the same corner at the Valencia MotoGP, meaning the Sepang test marked his Avintia Ducati debut.

Over the three days at the Malaysian Grand Prix venue Zarco was able to improve his lap time by more than one-and-a-half seconds with his best effort of 1m 58.951s putting 15th overall on the final day’s timesheet.

With the Ducati GP19 being Zarco’s fourth different MotoGP bike in the space of 15 months, having left Tech3 Yamaha for his ill-fated move to Red Bull KTM before splitting mid-season and making a three-round outing at LCR Honda, the two-time Moto2 world champion is conscious of the adaptation he needs in order to gel with the Ducati.

Despite his difficulties adjusting to the KTM package 12 months ago, Zarco remains confident of a smoother transition with Ducati’s MotoGP challenger after his debut test.

“It’s been a good test. The first day was a little bit difficult. I think I can be faster, I still have to learn new things, but at the end of the third day I am happy because I see that the method I am following works well and with time I will be able to learn more,” Zarco said.

“The bike has a lot of acceleration and I need to take advantage of it. I can’t wait to arrive to Qatar because we have three more days to improve and prepare for the start of the season.

“It is difficult to learn new things, but I feel prepared and I am very motivated.”

Over a single lap at Sepang, Zarco outpaced new team-mate Tito Rabat by almost a full six-tenths of a second on the GP19. The Avintia Ducati duo will be the only riders on GP19s this season with both factory Ducati and Pramac Ducati riders all on the new GP20s.

Zarco and the MotoGP grid return to action at the final pre-season test at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit on February 22-24.

 

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