Jorge Lorenzo says he can sympathise with Maverick Vinales' recent difficulties with MotoGP race starts and battling in the pack.
Yamaha rider Vinales made sluggish getaways in both of the first two grands prix of the year in Qatar and Argentina, and then was handed a ride-through penalty for jumping the start last time out in the United States.
He languishes in 12th in the championship ahead of the start of the European leg of the season, having scored less than a third of team-mate Valentino Rossi's points.
Vinales recently spoke of needing to adjust his usual sweeping lines to be able to overtake other riders, an issue familiar to Lorenzo.
The Honda rider also said that he usually struggled to maintain his grid positions in the early years of his premier class career.
"I understand he struggles to start well with the clutch," said Lorenzo of Vinales.
"It doesn't matter if he's on the first row, he always loses positions.
"I also suffered this problem at the beginning of my career in MotoGP. Normally I made pole position or front row, then I lost one row because of a bad start and then it's difficult.
"I had quite different kind of lines compared to other riders. When you are behind other riders you have to take a comfort zone in case you make a mistake, and don't touch the rider.
"If you are behind, you have to brake earlier and you are losing time, just to have this margin of safety.
"Probably this is what happened to Maverick. He prefers going alone and leading the race."
Despite his meagre points haul, Vinales has demonstrated strong pace in 2019 - finishing all three warm-up sessions inside the top four, while also taking pole in Qatar and second on the grid in Argentina.
"We have the pace to be in front so we need just to clarify, not make the mistakes and be in the front," said Vinales after the race at Austin.