Having got within 0.229sec of the 250GP pole position time at last month's Spanish Grand Prix, the top Moto2 machine all but matched the two-stroke best in race specification during Sunday's Jerez round of the CEV Formula Extreme championship.
After taking part in Formula Extreme qualifying at the previous Albacete round, four Moto2 machines were allowed to race alongside the 1000cc Superbikes at Jerez to help Dorna further gauge their competitiveness. The Moto2 bikes were not eligible for points.
Aleix Espargaró (#4) led the 600cc challenge in qualifying, putting his R6-powered bike fifth on the grid, then took the holeshot into turn one. Espargaró crashed out of tenth place on lap six, leaving the Honda-propelled entry of Dani Rivas - who had qualified tenth - to set the best Moto2 race lap on his way to seventh position.
Rivas clocked a 1min 43.343sec, which was just 0.005sec slower than the fastest race lap - and official lap record - set by Aspar Aprilia's Alvaro Bautista during the Spanish GP. Before his fall, Espargaro set a best of 1min 43.822sec.
The other Moto2s of Angel Rodriguez (Yamaha) and Dani Arcas (Honda) had qualified 13th and 23rd in the 33 bike field: Rodriquez failed to start after engine problems while Arcas finished 17th.
Meanwhile, at the front of the field, a thrilling Formula Extreme battle ended with the top three riders - Ivan Silva (Kawasaki), Carmelo Morales (Yamaha) and Kenny Noyes (Kawasaki) - covered by just 1.2 seconds. Silva finished 12.4sec ahead of Rivas.
Moto2 machines will use identical Honda engines (but individual chassis designs) when they support the MotoGP World Championship from next season. Honda is yet to build the official Moto2 engines, so the bikes present at Jerez were running either R6 or CBR powerplants within a prototype chassis.
47 teams have applied to enter next year's Moto2 championship. The existing 250cc two-stokes will also be allowed to race, although the entry applications submitted showed teams are overwhelmingly in favour of using the new 600cc four-strokes.
Moto2 will officially be four-stroke only from 2011.