He finished 14th in Fuji after a spin in qualifying put him at the back of the grid, but in the dry at Motegi the Mexican driver proved more competitive.
Despite stalling on his way to the grid and starting from the back last weekend, O’Ward charged through the field until a lack of power affected his chances.
“We certainly went forward this weekend and it was good to have dry time in the car,” said O’Ward. “The race was good, we got up to 12th and had closed right up on the pack so only a few seconds separated us from sixth and seventh.
“Then we lost power and were only running on about 70 percent for the last five laps. A real shame as it was all coming together there for a good finish and maybe points.
“Still, as a second Super Formula event, I was happy with the progress.”
He added: “We were running the same pace as the leaders on soft [tyres] so that shows what we would be able to do with better qualifying. “
I was going forward and caught [Artem] Markelov who was also looking to go past another car but the engine went into anti-stall for some reason and I lost a couple-of-hundred yards. Luckily it only happened once. Then we were OK until we lost power at the end.”
O’Ward added that the next step to improve results in Super Formula would come from improving his qualifying form, in particular on the medium-compound Yokohama tyre.
“The key will be me learning to engage the medium tyre correctly as you have to use that for Q1,” said O’Ward. “I haven't done that yet so we didn't make it to Q2.
"That's a bit of a black hole for me at the moment that needs to be sorted.”