It was clearly a massive disappointment for the Australian, competing in his final Italian race as a home Ducati rider.
But when Miller returned to the pits, after bringing his damaged bike home in 18th, and saw the speed of Francesco Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini during their final lap showdown, it was something of a surprise, to say the least…!
“I don’t want to say I was going to win today or anything like that [because] those two guys at the front – I came in and saw their lap times on the last lap and basically shit my pants, to be honest!” Miller said.
“I mean, that was impressive. A ‘31.8 and ‘31.9, with 27 laps on the tyres, it’s the same as my pole lap!
“So those guys were pushing. I only saw some short [clips] of the race, but it looked like the pace was extremely fast at the front there and those guys were riding extremely well.
“Whether or not it was a missed opportunity [for me], it’s better not to even think about it. Just take the positives of the steps we made on the bike this weekend, the way that I’m feeling on the bike at the moment. And that’s it.
“I’ll try to learn from it. I was pushing there at the beginning, trying to get away a little bit or at least break the group up and that can happen.
“Not the day we had anticipated, but anyway, that’s the way the cookie crumbled.”
‘No rear brake and no wings on one side a bit of a handful’
After converting his pole position into the early lead, Miller’s downfall came at the slow Turn 4.
“I was a little bit wide coming out of 3, didn’t really think too much of it. Was coming in a little bit hot at 4, like it is sometimes with the first couple laps, just not decelerating maybe the way you like and came in wide off the kerb.
“All weekend, even if I was running wide, I was able to slide the bike to the apex.
“But I came off the kerb and the thing started doing ‘this’ a little bit and I knew I was on the limit and, yeah, she went away from me.
“I picked the bike up, continued, but riding one of these monsters with no rear brake and no wings on one side was a little bit of a handful, because the wheelie was pretty full on.
“But I didn’t give up, kept pushing to the end and the bike felt good, considering. The grip felt good.
“It just makes you more hungry for what could have been.”
‘I don’t know if they’re trying to get their money’s worth out of me!’
Despite leaving Ducati for KTM at the end of this season, Miller expects to be a busy man at the test on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“I think they’ve got a long list of stuff for me to try. And the majority of the stuff won’t be on the bike this year, so I don’t know if they’re trying to get their money’s worth out of me or what!” he joked.
“We’ll wait and see what the plan is, I haven’t really gone over it completely. Whatever they need me to do, I’ll do it.”
While team-mate Bagnaia’s victory moves him to second in the world championship, the non-scores for Johann Zarco and Miller on Sunday mean they have both dropped behind Gresini’s Bastianini in fifth and sixth.