Casey Stoner believes Marc Marquez must be given time to prove he can marry his prodigious pace with the consistency required to become a MotoGP champion.
The Spaniard has been a sensation since being called up to replace the departing Stoner in Honda's works line-up, winning at the second attempt and capturing the points lead after the third.
He has also crashed several times however, including most recently at Mugello while running second with three laps to go.
Stoner says such moments highlight the dangers of judging Marquez after just a few races in the premier class.
"I think people are jumping a little bit too quickly," Stoner told AUTOSPORT.
"Definitely the kid has got talent, and it's going to be interesting to watch him, but he has to keep it up; this is the thing.
"Too many people say 'he can only get better'.
"Whatever happens at the beginning won't necessarily continue to happen.
"I didn't get great results in my first races and look where I ended up."
Stoner said it was important to maintain perspective, particularly as Marquez's current rivals Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa can boast similar records in their debut campaigns.
Pedrosa was second in his first premier class race and triumphed in his fourth, while Lorenzo captured pole and second on his debut and then won at his third event. Both men had also captured consecutive 250cc crowns before graduating.
"He [Marquez] has done a fantastic job, but people are forgetting what Dani [Pedrosa] and Jorge [Lorenzo] did in their first races.
"Lorenzo was second in his first ever race, third in his second and won his third. Dani was second in his first race.
"Marquez's first race wasn't as good as Dani or Jorge, yet his second race [when he triumphed at Austin] was better. He's got some tough competition."