Fabio Quartararo showed few signs of a rider still recovering from surgery on Friday as the Frenchman stormed to the fastest time in MotoGP FP2 at the Circuit of Barcelona.

The 20-year old Frenchman topped the afternoon session with what is quickly becoming his customary late time with soft tyres fitted despite undergoing an operation last week to alleviate compartmental syndrome on his right arm.

The one-time GP winner said the joint was “still painful” but he rode all day without painkillers. “It’s just a matter of getting used to this pain,” he said in a matter of fact way after leading Andrea Dovizioso by 0.281s at the end of the day.

“Well sincerely I felt really good. After the surgery my arm feels quite good, still painful, but it's just a matter of getting used to this pain,” said Quartararo.

“But today has been really positive. This afternoon, we worked with used tires, and it was really positive. Also our fast lap was really good on soft tyres, I made two fast laps.

“I didn't take medication, so that's really good. Of course for the race I will take something. So I don't know how the pain will be for the race, because it's only Friday.

“But sincerely, I didn't expect it to be that good after just a bit more than one week after surgery.”

Quartararo’s quickest time of 1m 40.079s was just five hundredths off Jorge Lorenzo’s official lap record, set in last year’s crushing win. It was, however, the first, slower lap in a late FP2 that felt “much more on the limit.”

“My first lap when I did 1m 40.3s, I felt much more on the limit than my last lap,” he said. “My last lap, I thought that, OK, I made a good lap, but it's not as good as the first one, but sincerely, I improved nearly three tenths, so I was really surprised to see this lap time on my dashboard.”

On his race pace, and day’s work, he said, “[It is] Not bad. Sincerely, this morning we worked quite good on the pace, and today we exited with old tyres the first two sessions, and the pace was OK.

“I work a lot with the rear brake, and today, I couldn't touch it, because as soon as you touch it, the bike is sliding a lot. So for me the track today was really dirty, and we see that the lap times are really far from last year already.”

Quartararo came within 0.2s of claiming a second pole position of his fledgling premier class career at Mugello a fortnight ago. Only an inspired Marc Marquez effort demoted him to second.

With his fine qualifying record in mind, does the rookie expect to be challenging for pole on Saturday?

“First of all we need to keep calm, that's the most important thing, because we still have a lot of work to do tomorrow morning.

“Of course we will do our best to be in the first row, but at the moment our goal is to be in the first three rows, going directly into Q2, and let's see if tomorrow we can make a good qualifying.”