"I feel like it's been a rough year with qualifying but the good news is my strength is race day. I guess if I had to choose between qualifying and race day I'd choose race day.
KV Racing Technology's Tony Kanaan was another driver to fail to make it out of round 1. "We missed this one by a whole lot ... There are no excuses, our qualifying effort was pathetic."
Actually there was
a pretty decent reason behind Kanaan's disappointing session, as he went on to explain: "Since the first practice we were having brake problems and instead of focusing on getting the car fast we were focusing on solving the brake issues. When the brake problem was finally resolved we did not get our setup right. Not once."
Kanaan will start from the back row of the grid for the race alongside HVM's Simona de Silvestro, who was taking a more upbeat view of things despite the poor grid slot. "We struggled this weekend but I'm confident that we'll be able to make up positions during the race," she said. "I really like the track here at Twin Ring Motegi ... It feels like a European race course and suits my style."
Joao Paulo de Oliveira managed to finish in the top six in his group in round 1 and make it into the Top 12, which was a good showing on his IndyCar Series début whatever advantage he might have received from his local knowledge of the road course circuit from his Formula Nippon races here.
"We have made some more progress and got the car working better on the red tires, so that was positive. On Q1 I got the most out of it and in Q2 I didn't quite get everything together," he confessed. "I'm still trying to figure out how to gain time on reds and without the experience I can't be too critical of myself. I think it was another positive day and we are moving forward."
Full qualifying times and details