World Superbike champion Tom Sykes is feeling relaxed and rejuvenated as the English ace assesses his forthcoming pre-season testing programme, which commences at Almeria in Spain tomorrow.

Sykes feels the pressure is off after lifting the world crown for the first time in 2013 and the Kawasaki rider is looking forward to the defence of his title this year.

"Almeria has definitely done us well in the past because it helped set us up for a great season last year. We still have items to test and we can do our job at Almeria," he said.

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"I am looking forward to getting back out there, stretching our legs and re-evaluating things to make our forthcoming season as competitive as possible.

"We will be getting ourselves ready for Australia and round one at these Spanish tests. I am very excited to be defending my world championship in 2014 and I would say that I am possibly even more motivated than I was at the start of last year," added Sykes.

"In 2013 the pressure was on to achieve. Last year was massive in many aspects of my life, so I was proud the way I handled myself."

It is clear Sykes' breakthrough last year has given him extra self-assurance and he admits he feels less burdened following his stunning championship victory on the ZX-10R.

"A lot of weight is off my shoulders with the championship victory and becoming a parent after the birth of our first child, so I feel much more relaxed this year," he said.

"I am with a great team, Kawasaki is a great manufacturer and I know where I stand. I am very excited and motivated to get back on track."

Voltcom Crescent Suzuki duo Eugene Laverty and Alex Lowes will also be in action at Almeria on Thursday and Friday.

Following the Spanish test, Sykes and team-mate Loris Baz will undertake one final European track-based session at Jerez on February 5-6 before the team packs up to head to the first round at Phillip Island in Australia on February 23.