The first pre-race press conference of the World Superbike Championship was held today at the Phillip Island circuit in Australia with many of the riders expected to challenge for the 2014 title in attendance. They talked about the coming season, this weekend’s series opener and more.

Here’s what they had to say.

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes: "It’s been a good start for sure, but now we need to work on race performance. I like the new qualifying format and I think it will level the playing field as we won't need to worry about who is holding back on tires for example."

Ducati’s Chaz Davies: "It's been good so far. It's kind of a familiar surroundings with the Feel Racing crew; I feel at home and I got comfortable on the bike reasonably quickly. Judging by Carlos' [Checa] lap from last year in Superpole it's obvious that the bike works pretty good around here. We made improvements, not quite as quick as I was hoping over the couple of days of testing, but I think we know what to do."

Team Hero EBR’s Aaron Yates: "It's a really big step for EBR, we are really excited to be part of World Superbike and to bring the Hero EBR Team onto the international scene. We will try to do the best we can, but we know it's going to be a big task. We will figure out what we need to make it go."

MV Agusta’s Claudio Corti: "I'm really happy because I never had a full season in World Superbike. I'm happy also to race with a brand like MV Agusta, an iconic marque both in Italy and worldwide. Being the sole rider is a difficult task and I also crashed at turn 11 during the test, which cost us some important track time. It will be hard but the guys believe in this project and so do I."

Aprilia’s Sylvain Gunitoli: "Surprisingly I feel good and this put a smile back on my face. Being back on a bike after four months is great and straight away I felt at home on the Aprilia – I’m a happy man."

Suzuki’s Eugene Laverty: "We have definitely made progress since the first test in November and it’s nice to see how far we have already come. I didn’t expect to be as quick as we were on Monday. Having won the last two races of 2013 it would be a dream come true to win on the Suzuki in race one and make it three in a row, but I'm not getting ahead of myself."

Honda’s Jonathan Rea: "Last year we tested from zero with all new electronics, but in the last test in Jerez we left with our heads held high as we were right on the pace. I am so proud of my team - they have all worked so hard. On Monday and Tuesday it was encouraging to be so close, but the field is so tightly stacked this year anyone of 10 guys could win."

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