Starting 12th, Miller was lucky to avoid the initial pile-up triggered by Enea Bastianini, that also took out Johann Zarco, Alex Marquez, Fabio di Giannantonio, and Marco Bezzecchi.

But his relief was short lived when he found himself caught up in the aftermath of Francesco Bagnaia’s huge highside.

After being launched from the lead on the exit of the first chicane, Bagnaia landed in the middle of the track. Debris from his Ducati damaged the KTM of Miller’s team-mate Brad Binder, who couldn’t avoid running over the Italian’s legs.

While Bastianini suffered ankle and hand fractures, Bagnaia miraculously escaped any serious injury.

“I got a decent start, braked pretty late up the inside, then Bastianini centred in from a long way back,” Miller said. “As soon as I saw his wheel start hopping I thought ‘here we go!’

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“So I braked a little more and, sure enough, it was dominoes at Turn 1.

“Then Pecco got a cold tyre and sent himself for six. I tried to avoid everything, Pecco and the bike.

“Brad copped that piece of shit in the radiator or whatever. It started pissing [fluid] out. There was stuff flying, like spraying everywhere.

“Brad jumped Pecco as well, then crashed when he landed, I don’t know if stuff went on the tyre. Then I had his bike in front of me. I ended up jumping the back of Brad’s bike, smashed my front guard off but managed to stay on it somehow.

“Then came back and re-set.”

The restart saw Miller up to sixth on the opening lap, before losing out to Alex Marquez and Fabio Quartararo. The trio crossed the line covered by just a few tenths of a second.

“I wasn’t very happy in warm-up so I gave the boys my feedback, said we needed to do something radical for the race, and it was good,” said Miller, who had reverted to his front-end style bike balance this weekend.

“It took me five or six laps just to understand what the bike was doing to get the most out of it because they changed the ride height, length and certain parts a massive amount.

“I was happy with the result. We made some headway. Couple of mistakes early on - my front right-hand side of the tyre went off a little earlier than I would have liked.

“You could tell by the braking at Turn 1, people missing their braking points and not being able to stop. That happened to me a little bit earlier [than the others] and then you start readjusting.

“But I was able to stay fighting with the boys until the end. I kind of didn’t know it was the last lap! Fabio was pushing hard to Alex and I was pushing Fabio really hard but ran out of time.

“But happy to have a strong finish to the race, fight and be closer to the front than the Sprint.”

The Australian added: “We’ve made a big step today for sure, which is nice because we’ve been playing a lot, in these low grip conditions, trying to understand what we need to do to create grip and feeling and corner-speed.

“We were able to find that today, a bit and will keep playing around with that.

“Now we go to Misano next week which is a higher-grip track, like Jerez. So we can run our more standard style set-up and it should work pretty good.”

Miller is now ninth in the world championship, nine points behind Aprilia podium finisher Maverick Vinales.

Binder retired with a technical issue early in the restart.