Jonathan Rea believes he is well placed to commence the 2014 World Superbike Championship on a positive note at Phillip Island in Australia next month.

The Northern Irishman and team-mate Leon Haslam have been working hard during pre-season testing on the new Pata Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP.

Rea, whose season last year was hindered by a leg injury suffered at the Nurburgring, believes the Ten Kate team has made strong progress with the electronics package.

"We worked heavily with electronics as I have a new engineer who has requested a lot of new strategies to be written into the software from Cosworth," said Rea.

"We've not received all the strategies that we want yet but already we have a better base than last year with a much smoother engine feeling.

"I've also worked with my crew chief and Ohlins technician a lot to improve the feeling with the new forks and the agility of the bike.

"We still need to improve on our overall speed and then refine our base set-up that we have already," the 26-year-old told

Rea recently became a father for the first time and admits the new arrival kept his spirits high while he was sidelined through injury.

"The period when I was injured was tough because every day was filled with a structured program to aid my return to competition as soon as possible.

"I rode at seven weeks post-injury in what was a nasty fracture to my femur so my rehabilitation had be positive," said Rea.

"When Jake was born, it made the tough part about being away from the circuit easy because I now had another job in being a father and I am still enjoying every minute of that."

Looking ahead to the forthcoming season, which gets underway at Phillip Island on February 23, Rea says he is feeling positive over his prospects.

"The minimum expectation is to be more competitive than 2013 but we have much bigger goals than that.

"I aim to win races and then we will take it from there. It's going to be tough but I have a positive feeling."