Leon Camier is optimistic he will begin his 2013 World Superbike Championship challenge "at a much higher level" following a winter of hard work by his Fixi Crescent Suzuki team.

Camier is preparing for his first test on the Yoshimura-powered GXS-R1000 at Almeria in Spain on Thursday and Friday this week as the opening round of the series at Phillip Island in Australia on February 24 edges ever closer.

And the 26-year-old from Ashford in Kent is eager to assess any improvements that have been made to the bike since the final test last year at Jerez.

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"I'm excited to get back on the bike. The guys have been working hard and hopefully made some good progress, so we will see in Jerez how we compare," he said.

"The first real test will be in Australia, though, as racing is always different. It was good to have some time off the bike to relax and start again.

"I think it's been good for the technicians to have some time in the workshop with everything they have learnt last year, so I'm hoping to start at a much higher level than we did in 2012."

Camier intends to focus on a set-up direction that works with the new 17" wheels after initial tests last November were less than encouraging.

"The bikes are a little different to last year so we have a few things to try to find our direction for set up with the new 17'" wheels, as in testing at the end of last year they didn't work so well for us.

"We need to improve the standard wheels we tried last November and hopefully we'll have a slightly better version coming for the tests," added Camier.

"Speed was a big problem for us last season and even though it improved a lot we still need to be faster.

"An improvement in electronics for in-between conditions is also important.

"I think we will start a lot stronger this year, the guys have made some good improvements and are happy with how things are at the work shop so hopefully this will translate to performance on the track, but we will see very soon."

Camier endured a sluggish start to the 2012 season after joining Suzuki from Aprilia.

He suffered a number of heavy crashes but escaped serious injury and began to make strides towards the end of the season, scoring his only podium finish at the Nurburgring and finishing the campaign in 14th position overall.

Following the test at Almeria this week, Camier and new teammate Jules Cluzel will move on to Jerez next Tuesday for a second shakedown.