Pol Espargaro and Jack Miller expressed sympathy with Joan Mir after the Suzuki Ecstar rider missed out on what would have been his second career podium finish following the red flag in Sunday's Styrian Grand Prix.
Mir shone in the first half of the race and appeared to be on course for a first-ever MotoGP™ win, but his momentum was halted with 12 laps to go.
A scary crash for Maverick Vinales led to the race being red flagged, and although Mir got away well from pole at the restart after that incident, he soon began to struggle for grip and could not hold on to his position.
Miller and Espargaro both went past him, while Miguel Oliveira joined them in the latter stages for what proved to be a thrilling climax – ultimately pipping both in the final seconds to become the first Portuguese winner of a MotoGP™ race.
Mir finished fourth, with Miller and Espargaro paying tribute to the 22-year-old after the race.
"In this type of race it is like Moto3™, it is practically impossible to say who is going to finish first," Espargaro told DAZN. "Anyway, that is how it should be, this is fun and it is how people have fun at home.
"On the last corner I wanted to block Jack, but I knew that the little power they have accelerating would have been enough for him to be level, and then he started very fast. I should have braked a little more, I went long and Miguel took advantage of the gap to win.
"In the end, in these conditions anyone can win. We have risked victory, we have lost, but that's how racing is.
"I also want to say that today the race did not belong to any of the three of us. It belonged to Joan, who in the first race was superior to everyone, he was doing something incredible. Today he undoubtedly deserved it."
Miller echoed Espargaro's sentiments, adamant Mir would have won were it not for the red flag.
"I am very sorry for Joan Mir," he added. "In the first race he was driving like a champion. I couldn't follow him, physically I couldn't and he got away.
"He would have won this race, I'm sorry for him."