For the second MotoGP race in a row, Jack Miller had to evade on the first lap to avoid a fall.
The Australian had a good view of the carnage at Turn 3, with Stefan Bradl, Maverick Vinales and Bradley Smith tumbling into the gravel.
“It was right in front of me, so I had to slow down,” Miller told motorsport.com.
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“Bradl just tried to overtake us all at once, locked the front and there were dominoes from there.
“He met Smithers (Smith), Smithers went down, then their two bikes cleaned up Maverick, and Maverick had a highsider.
“It was a nasty little accident, I almost had to stop just to wait for the bikes to slip past my front tire.
Miller lost a few positions while bracing himself to avoid the fall – but at least he wasn’t pushed off the track like at the German GP, where he was the last to return to the race.
“I honestly thought, ‘Let’s go, déjà-vu again’, I was lucky not to get too tangled up this week.”
All three drivers were fortunate enough to avoid serious injuries, although Honda test driver Bradl’s participation on the Monday after the race is in doubt.
“Unfortunately, I was braking at Turn 3 with Viñales just ahead of me when I felt a bump and then found myself in the gravel,” he said.
“I looked around and saw that Bradley was also involved in the incident. In all honesty, I didn’t understand exactly what happened.
“Unfortunately I have a lot of pain in my right shoulder. Fortunately, the medical center ruled out fractures, but the ligaments are quite stretched. We have to see how I feel about the test tomorrow. “
Stewards investigated the incident but chose not to take any action against the drivers involved.
Miller caught and passed Bautista, 19, but this is where his recovery ended.Source: Getty Images
TIRE PROBLEMS HAMPING MILLER
Despite his delay, Miller finished the opening tour in 15th place, pulling the riders out in front of him until he reached 12th place on lap 6.
But he has come this far.
Like much of the field, Miller had opted for Michelin hard tires at both the front and rear, but had problems with the rear rubber over the course of the race.
He was particularly surprised by the relative speed of Alvaro Bautista, who had opted for the center front and soft rear from Michelin.
“I closed the gap to Bautista very quickly, but when I got there, I honestly had no more speed,” he said.
“It felt like my tires overheated or fell off. I couldn’t do anything. He lost the pace by 0.8 seconds and just let go of me and caught up with the group in front. I had nothing for him, I couldn’t follow him.
“We had some weird turns in a straight line, which was not normal.
“16 seconds behind first place is not a complete disaster, but the group was in front of us and we couldn’t quite follow them today.
“We still have to work a little, especially in qualifying, to improve the overall standings in the race.”