The race got off to a wet but drying start, with Yonny Hernandez shooting to the front on soft tires before crashing.
Renowned wet-weather ace Danilo Petrucci was the next unlikely leader, and he was up front when the race was abandoned due to a biblical red-flagged rainstorm.
The early laps of the 12-lap restart were notable as second-placed Andrea Dovizioso – who had started from pole twice – retired from second position and then crashed Valentino Rossi from a sizeable lead.
This handed the race to Honda and it was Miller’s satellite Marc VDS machine that sped past the factory version of two-time champion Marquez in a bold move in the chicane. Miller had restarted in eighth but had been the lead when it really counted.
Scott Redding was third on his Pramac Ducati, passing Pol Espargaro with two laps to go.
Reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo, who admits he struggles in wet conditions, struggled throughout but was able to salvage an important points result in 10th.
history of the race
At the start, Redding jumped briefly into the lead on his Pramac Ducati from Rossi and Dovizioso, but Redding went too far at Turn 1 and dropped to seventh place.
Rossi led Dovizioso, Suzuki’s Aleix Espargaro, Marquez and Lorenzo – from 10th to fifth.
Hernandez was the man on the move from the start, the fastest man on the track, moving up to third at Turn 1 on lap two while Pedrosa edged Lorenzo into seventh.
Marquez took fourth place from Aleix Espargaro and Iannone was also on the rise from his start at the back of the grid. On lap two he was in seventh place.
Hernadez’ Aspar Ducati, running on soft tires all round unlike the leaders, came out on top on lap three, passing Dovizioso and Rossi to take the lead.
Lorenzo fell down the order as his rivals improved their lap times. He was soon down to 17th place and with no points.
Petrucci also came into his own at this stage on his Pramac Ducati, having starred at a wet Silverstone last year. He was also running on soft/soft compounds and climbed up to fourth on lap five as the track continued to dry out.
Hernandez managed the gap like a veteran once in front, holding a 2-second buffer on Rossi who still had Dovizioso for company. Behind Petrucci, Iannone passed Marquez for fifth after a tough battle. Redding, who was on a soft front, finished seventh.
rain is coming again
Just as the track seemed to be drying out, a rain shower hit the track after nine laps.
Dovizioso passed Rossi for second as the rain intensified but was 2.6s behind Hernandez.
But the fairy tale story of Hernandez ended when he crashed just before halfway into the distance at Turn 1, dropping to 16th place.
The field reset, with Dovizioso leading by 1.4 seconds over Rossi, who had Petrucci just behind. Redding jumped to fourth ahead of Iannone and Marquez as the rain poured down and the track got wet again.
Next, Iannone crashed from fifth position. This promoted Cal Crutchlow to sixth place ahead of Pedrosa.
Petrucci and Rossi fought hard and put them right up against the leading Dovizioso. Redding – by far the fastest man on the course – also joined the party.
Petrucci and Redding passed Rossi and then Petrucci landed in the lead with 12 laps to go.
Then the red flag was raised, with the order Petrucci at the head of Dovizioso.
But both Petrucci’s pass to Dovizioso and Redding’s pass to Rossi were reversed (since the results were carried over from the previous lap), leaving the race in the order Dovizioso, Petrucci, Rossi, Redding, ahead of Pedrosa, Marquez, Crutchlow, Miller, new was started. and the Aprilias by Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl.
“It got dry after seven laps,” said Petrucci during the break. “Then it rained heavily, heavily – and it was quite difficult to spin in fifth and sixth gear on the back straight. There was too much water to see the track, it was a safety decision.”
Redding reported: “It was awful, I couldn’t see anything. The rain was so heavy it stuck to the visor, I had to look under the gap, it was pretty scary. I turned the rear tire a lot.”
Dash to reset the flag
After the storm passed, the race was restarted in wet conditions.
From his second pole of the day, Dovizioso led Rossi, Marquez, Petrucci, Crutchlow, Redding and Pedrosa. Marquez hit the front briefly at Turn 1 but shot over.
Miller then moved up to fourth when Pedrosa dropped his Honda at Turn 9. Crutchlow followed at Turn 12 a few corners later.
Rossi then hit the front before the end of the first lap, leading Dovizioso, Marquez and Miller. The Tech 3 Yamahas stormed into the top six, Pol Espargaro ahead of Bradley Smith while Race 1 star Petrucci came to a halt. Smith crashed at Turn 15.
Dovizioso crashed in spectacular fashion from second place at Turn 12 on lap two and Rossi did the same – falling from a convincing margin on Marquez. The front end of his Yamaha collapsed under him at just 80 km/h. Aleix Espargaro was the next to fall.
The race was now a head-to-head battle between Marquez and Miller, and Miller ended up in the lead at the chicane with nine laps to go. Pol Espargaro was third, ahead of Redding and Iannone.
Redding passed Espargaro for the bottom step of the podium on the penultimate lap, but this race was all about Miller’s landmark first win in the most sensational of circumstances.