Johann Zarco says the "great things" he could do on the LCR Honda late last season led him to believe he would be quicker on Avintia's Ducati in MotoGP testing.
Zarco contested the final three races of the 2018 season on Takaaki Nakagami's 2018-spec LRC Honda after losing his ride with KTM following the Misano round - having already terminated his two-year deal following a difficult campaign.
Though he only finished one race - 13th in Australia - Zarco felt he had regained the feeling he lost during his toil on the KTM.
Zarco admitted on Friday at Sepang he expected to be faster than the 18th and 1.6 seconds off the pace he ended up, and was a similarly low-key 1.2s down in 19th on Saturday.
However, he said he believes a lengthy absence from riding is partially to blame for this, and said his ability to adapt to the Honda last year lulled him into thinking he would be just as strong on his first Ducati outing.
"I had three months break, from the crash in Valencia [Zarco fell before being struck by Iker Lecuona's Tech3 KTM in the gravel] I could not really ride a lot in between, and even if I wanted to do motocross it was raining all the time in South of France and in Spain," Zarco said.
"It has not been easy to ride a lot and I could feel it yesterday and a bit today that the three months break is a bit long and I lose some automatic feelings.
"So, for me it's a good track here to learn. With more or less great things I could do with [LCR] I expected to [have] better pace with the Ducati.
"It's not this right now, but really there's no stress because there is also this three months off that changed me a little bit."
When asked by Autosport if he could see a better way forward with the Ducati than after his initial outings on the KTM, he said: "It's a different work.
"I don't need to develop the bike and I can work much more on myself, and this is for me easier because I feel at the moment [I'm missing] a few things I need to catch back to be with the good guys."