A light rain shower half-an-hour before Sunday's Grand Prix of Argentina created one of the strangest starting grids in MotoGP memory.

In a repeat of his daring tyre gamble to claim a debut pole position on Saturday, Jack Miller was the only rider to correctly predict the track would be dry enough for slicks at the start.

By the time the other 23 riders realised their error it was too late to change tyres on the grid and team's were forced to push their bikes into pit lane… leaving Miller alone on pole!

The MotoGP rules state:

"All adjustments must be completed by the display of the 3-Minute board. After this board is displayed, riders who still wish to make adjustments must push their machine to the pit lane…

"Such riders will start the warm-up lap from the pit lane and will start the race from the back of the grid."

That meant 23-riders now had all to start at the back of the grid!

Riders would only have started the race from the end of pitlane if they had pitted later, on the warm-up lap, as happened at Sachsenring 2014.

But even so the potential for confusion in arranging the new grid line-up was obvious and Race Direction had little choice but to delay the start while they marked out exactly where those 23 riders should be.

They would again line-up in qualifying order, but with the lead rider (second on grid) now several rows back, where the normal grid would have ended. So they were all in a sense now starting 'at the back of the grid'.

If nothing else, it meant the easiest holeshot of Miller's career…

"It was a crazy situation on the grid, I could see the rain was stopping, I could see the track was still dry, and the wind was just drawing away the clouds and the rain," Miller said. "So we decided to take the gamble and I was hoping it would pay off for us, but it didn't so we've just got to accept the situation.

"It was what it was," he shrugged. "I feel we did the right thing, and we can't say that anyone else did the wrong thing. But it felt strange sitting on the grid when there's supposed to be 24 bikes and there wasn't anyone else!

"They [the organisers] did the best they could under such big pressure. Then it started raining again, and I was just thinking, 'oh Jesus, it's going to be another nightmare'. And then Marc's bike stopping on the grid, it was just chaos everywhere.

"I just tried to keep my emotions in check and be as mature as I could be, which sometimes isn't my strong point. 'Are we going, are we not going?' I was able to keep calm and just focus. So I was happy with that."

What were you doing on the grid to keep calm?

"Swearing a lot!"

Miller duly led the opening lap before being overtaken by Marquez - then returned to the front when the reigning world champion was called in for a ride-through penalty on lap 7 of 24, for restarting his bike on the grid.

The Australian, winner of the wet 2016 Assen race, remained in front until lap 16 - but couldn’t shake off his pursuers and came under attack from Alex Rins. Although initially able to re-pass the Suzuki rider, Miller was shuffled to the tail of the lead group on lap 18, where he remained to the finish.

The new Pramac Ducati rider was 4.30s from race winner Cal Crutchlow and less than two-seconds from the final podium place.

"It's a bit bittersweet, that's for sure," Miller said. "After leading the race for so long, and the pole and all that, it hurts a little to not come away with a podium. But, all in all it was a good day.

"I tried to ride smart, especially on the first laps with all the commotion that went on on the grid.

"And even when Marc came past, I just tried to throw the hook and follow him for as long as I could, because I knew that if I could follow him, he had so much more speed than all of us.

"He was very fast today. And he was pulling me away from the other guys, and I thought, 'if I can follow him, he's going to take me with him' to try to get away from the wolves behind me.

"Then there were just a couple of costly mistakes later on in the race.

"With Rins and Crutchlow and Zarco behind me, I felt a lot of pressure and just braked a little bit… not even too late, but I just tipped in a little bit too late at the last corner, and you had to be very precise not to touch the water.

"I touched the water, let them through, and then I tried to make everything back up on the brakes into Turn 1, and I ran wide, and I was just like, NOOOO! It's just a disaster, you know.

"Then I pushed for two more laps to try to catch them back, but it wasn't enough. I didn't have enough tyre, I'd used a lot trying to follow Marc and then also by myself, with nobody in front I was just riding on the limit.

"So I feel I learned a lot this Grand Prix, and an amazing weekend for myself and the team. Pole position, fourth in the race. It just would have been a little bit nicer to have been on the podium, but I'm really happy for Alex to get his first, and Suzuki and those guys deserve it, and happy to bring home first Ducati today, and see what Austin has."

The other rider not to gain as much as he could of from the start situation was rookie Franco Morbidelli.

Morbidelli was the first of those to head to the pits for slicks. But because all the others later did the same, the Marc VDS Honda rider was back to his original 22nd grid ranking.

"We gambled a little with the tyre choice but our team made the right decision and did the correct thing but we were not rewarded because they delayed the start," he said.

 

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