But the Suzuki star, who snatched the lead into turn one and held second to Fabio Quartararo until 10 laps to go, later revealed he had been struggling with the front of his GSX-RR from the opening laps.

“It was really hard to push in this race, I was struggling to attack. After my good start I was just trying to get the best position possible, and I sort of went into defence mode,” Mir explained.

“From the first or second lap I started to feel that something wasn’t right. I started to have a lot of movements on the front, which got worse and worse and worse. The front part of the bike was really on the limit.”

Setting only the eighth fastest lap of the race, Mir was steadily reeled in by Johann Zarco and Miller.

But while Zarco passed the 2020 world champion without issue, Miller lost the front of his Ducati as he attempted to outbrake Mir into Turn 1. Miller’s fallen machine then sideswiped Mir, taking him down and out.

“What happened with Jack was obviously frustrating, but mistakes can happen in racing and I’ve also made similar mistakes in the past. It was a racing incident and nothing deliberate,” Mir said.

“I was braking quite hard also, then he locked the front. It was a shame but again I’ve made this mistake also a couple of times so I hope that he will learn from this and it doesn’t happen again.”

While Mir and Miller have clashed several times in recent seasons, and the Spaniard initially clapped at Miller as the dust settled, he then checked on the Australian’s condition and accepted his apology.

Joan Mir: ‘Just surviving’

Returning to the ‘unexpected’ front end issues, Mir suspects the lack of dry set-up time this weekend is the most likely explanation.

“It’s probably that we didn’t have time, like everyone, to try more things [in practice] and then in the race we had a problem,” he said.

“But it was unexpected honestly because we made warm-up with the soft compound front. Then we expected that with the same [medium] tyre as last year here everything could go more-or-less good.

“It was not like that and I didn’t have the option to push in any lap of the race. This is the main thing. I was there without gaining any advantage in any place. Just surviving.

”I crashed with ten laps to go, but if I was not crashing there, I’d crash in another moment because the front was really on the limit.”

Adding to the mystery was that, while Mir saw a possible first podium of the season slip away, team-mate Alex Rins charged from 23rd to fourth, using the same medium compound tyres front and rear.