IRL: Motegi: Kosuke Matsuura Thursday report

Matsuura Pleased with First Day at Indy Japan 300 Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah], who is preparing for his first IRL IndyCar Series appearance in his homeland this weekend, was pleased with opening practice activities today for the ...

Matsuura Pleased with First Day at Indy Japan 300

Kosuke Matsuura [Kohs-kay Mat-sur-ah], who is preparing for his first IRL IndyCar Series appearance in his homeland this weekend, was pleased with opening practice activities today for the Bridgestone Indy Japan 300. Matsuura ended the day 13th on the speed charts after making steady progress aboard the #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone.

Matsuura has claimed 11th-place finishes in his two IndyCar Series starts to date, and posted his best qualifying effort of 10th in the most recent event. He currently sits 13th in the point standings, just six points shy of the top 10, and leads the Bombardier Rookie of the Year chase.

Kosuke Matsuura, #55 Panasonic ARTA Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone:

"I am very happy to have the car we had today. I think [race engineer] John Dick and my mechanics did a great job because at the other two races this year, we didn't have a very good car on the first day but this time it was quite good. We improved a lot from the first session to the second session, again like at Phoenix. I think I could have done a better time in the second session but I cut a tire in the first session so we used our second set of tires. I am very confident for this race, and I am very happy to drive and enjoy this track."

FAST FACTS: This will be his third IRL IndyCar Series start-- finished 11th at both Homestead and Phoenix-- best qualifying effort to date was 10th in Phoenix-- currently sits 13th in the championship standings, just six points out of the top 10, and leads the Bombardier Rookie of the Year chase-- 24 years old from Aichi, Japan-- began his career in karts at the age of 14-- finished third in the 2003 Formula Renault V6 Eurocup-- finished second in the 2002 German Formula 3 Championship-- won the 2000 Japanese Formula Dream Series Championship before heading to Europe in 2001 to compete in German F3-- has been a member of Co-Owner Aguri Suzuki's ARTA (Autobacs Racing Team Aguri) driver development project since 1998 after climbing up the Japanese karting ranks--currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Tom Anderson, Managing Director:

"I was fairly pleased with Kosuke's progress today. Obviously, this is his first time here and he took to it well. We had a solid rear on the car and that gave him the confidence to start to deal with learning Turn Three and Four which is the key to going fast at Motegi. That is where we are still giving up some speed. We will change the balance tonight in order to make some progress there tomorrow. We will also have a fresh Honda engine tonight. I'm fairly pleased at the moment and there is more to learn tomorrow and more to be gained, so I look forward to a good qualifying session. The weather and the race track should be excellent again and, with no rain this evening, the track will be even better tomorrow."

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Tom Anderson , Kosuke Matsuura