Assen race winner Jack Miller says his sensational triumph in the rain-hit Dutch TT served as the perfect riposte to his critics.
The young Aussie, who made the jump from Moto3 straight into MotoGP last season, produced a calculated performance to win the re-started race on the Marc VDS Honda from factory rider Marc Marquez, becoming the first satellite rider to win a premier class race since Toni Elias achieved the feat in Portugal in 2006.
Miller left a lasting impression on MotoGP 250th race as he triumphed against the odds to claim his maiden win in the class, mastering the treacherous conditions to seal a famous victory at The Cathedral.
“The last three laps were pretty chilled and I was just trying to do 1m '50s and bring it over the line,” said Miller, who passed Marquez into the chicane on the fourth lap after Valentino Rossi crashed out of the lead.
“I don't know if it's turned my season on it's head but it has turned my weekend around and it's great for me to get this but we all know the reality: we're still in the learning phase and coming up through from Moto3 into MotoGP was a big step but this makes it clear that we do know how to ride a motorbike and I'm not an idiot.
“It gives Honda something back for taking such a big gamble on me and the risks those guys have taken to bring me through from Moto3 with the amount of criticism they have taken, and the amount of criticism I have taken, so big thanks to them and to my family as well for moving to Europe six years ago,” he added.
“This all makes it worthwhile and it's an amazing feeling and I can't even explain at this point in time.
"When you see stuff and hear stuff and you know what people are thinking because they see someone in the gravel mostly, they start to assume stuff.
“It's always good to get a victory and to do it like this is nice. It gives me also a little bit of a confidence boost because people can come into GP racing and go a long time without anything so I have to consider myself very lucky to get a victory," Miller added.
“We had to work for it and we had a lot of luck on our side but thanks to the guys for taking a gamble on me because they have really supported us and given us the option."
Asked what the celebrations would be like back home in Australia, Miller said: “It's probably 4am in the morning so I'm assuming my parents are probably in bed. Maybe they haven't and they're 40 beers deep and they're having a great time!”
Miller had been ninth in the original race, which was halted on lap 15 due to torrential rain and said he was happy with his position at that point if the race had been declared a result.
“I'd have been pretty happy if they'd cancelled the second race because I was pretty content with ninth and coming after I got my first 10th place the other week, I was alright with that,” said Miller.
“In the second race I tried to keep as calm as possible because I do get a little excited at times. We put the soft tyre in and we were able to make a few settings adjustments because we haven't had much wet weather practice this year.
“We kept the front tyre because it was in really good condition from the first race and I had a great feeling. I pushed to make my way through after not a bad start. I sat in behind [Danilo] Petrucci, got past and then got in behind [Marc] Marquez,” he added.
“When Vale threw it in the gravel I saw Marquez had calmed down a little and he was happy where he was because of course he was leading the race. When I went past I tried to stay on a similar lap time and ride my own race and I could see that Marc didn't really want to take any risks and who could blame him.”
Assessing the performance of Michelin's wet tyres, which were used for the first time in a MotoGP race scenario, Miller said the first race in particular showed the progress that has been made.
“If you asked me yesterday I'd say not very good because I crashed twice in FP4 and Q2, but today we got to understand them a little bit more,” he said.
“Michelin are coming back into the championship after so many years out and we've had some great tyres with Bridgestone. I think once we worked the settings out I think it was not bad and especially in the first race, so many riders stayed on with so much water on the ground was pretty amazing. Now they have a lot of data this weekend. The rear tyre was quite good and overall it was pretty good,” he added.
“In terms of rear grip I was really surprised because I talked with Scott [Redding] he said struggled a lot with a spin, especially coming out of turn 5.
“But for me it felt great and the first acceleration was really good. The bike is getting better and better each week and we are working to try some new things.”
Miller said that while his background in motocross may be an advantage in wet conditions, Australian riders traditionally coped well in the rain.
“I haven't ridden on the dirt for a while because I broke my leg. My background is in motocross and dirt tracking and I think it helps, but I don't know what it is about Australians because we all seem to go pretty well in the wet,” he said.
“I think Westy [Anthony West, Moto2 winner at Assen in 2014] won here two years ago in the wet – I don't know, I just like it.”