Despite ending countryman and title rival Fabio Quartararo's pole position run in qualifying, Johann Zarco left the German MotoGP with his joint-lowest race finish of the season.

The Pramac Ducati rider slotted into third early in the race, but was among several riders that struggled to pass Aleix Espargaro when a brief rain shower arrived.

Marc Marquez held an unstoppable advantage by the time the moisture cleared, while Zarco was forced to fight an increasingly defensive battle due to depleting tyre grip.

Overtaken by five of his rivals, the Frenchman finished eighth at the flag for his lowest points haul aside from crashing out in Portimao.

"I think a key point in the race was to overtake Aleix Espargaro when Marc began to go away. With a bit of rain he took this advantage," Zarco said. "I really tried to overtake Aleix but I could not do it. So I lost a bit of time here.

"I think I could have saved a few seconds in that moment because the second half of the race was pretty different and every lap the rear tyre on the left was dropping a lot and I could not really handle it well.

"I tried to my best but in the end it was quite hard to stay with the group in front of me and that’s why I had to stay clever and avoid mistakes to finish the race.

"There are two ways to see the race: the positive first half and I hope I will learn from it and the tough second half when I tried to hold the best position possible.

"It’s a very particular track and congratulations to Marc, he has been fantastic. It was a good lesson for riding here in the Sachsenring."

Marquez's return to the top of the MotoGP field also meant two riders finished ahead of world championship leader Quartararo on Sunday, with Miguel Oliveira claiming second place.

ALthough pleased that Marquez denied Quartararo of some extra points, Zarco is increasingly wary of Oliveira, the KTM rider scoring more than any other rider in the last three rounds with 65 out of a possible 75 points.

The Portuguese is now up to seventh in the world championship, 35 points behind Zarco, who remains in second place but now 22 points adrift of Quartararo.

"There is always this championship thought that Marc winning doesn’t give the opportunity for Fabio to get more of an advantage. On this calculation it was good that Marc won," said Zarco.

"Another way to see the things is that Oliveira is getting pretty strong. He just got 65 points in 3 races. Always take a lesson from this also and that he doesn’t take too many points and gets stronger.

"But the potential of the Ducati is pretty high and it’s just a way to manage it. I’m getting close and it’s better to look at it in this way.

"Sachsenring is a particular track where I have never been on top so I want to take today as a positive even if just at the end I was disappointed and a bit angry not to have the possibility to stay [on the podium].

"But I repeat, the potential of the Ducati is pretty high and it’s just a way to manage it. I’m getting close and we already saw with the technician that we made some mistake with the electronics, which we could have handled in a different way.

"So it’s not all on my shoulders that it was the wrong style or something. The package; we didn’t bring it high enough also."