We test the Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres aboard the blindingly fast Aprilia Tuono 1100 RR. Test by Tony (Pommie) Wilding Photography by Tony Wilding, Jeff Ware
I ask myself every time something new comes out, how can they ever improve on that? But they always seem to, and tyres are a prime example, especially the Pirelli Diablo Rosso III.
I was given the opportunity to test the new Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres aboard the brilliant and blindingly fast Aprilia Tuono 1100RR, so I really couldn’t say no. The new Rosso III tyres are aimed at sports and naked bikes as well as hyperbike and tourers but are also well capable of the odd track day.
With rain the night before and looming again in the distance, some of the shady road sections were still a bit on the damp side, so it was going to make for an interesting day in the saddle.
Tyres are weird things, for someone like me that rides a lot of different bikes, it’s something that I generally take for granted, mainly because I’m lucky that some expert mechanic has put new tyres on the bike before I ride it and set the pressures to suit.
I normally don’t even look at the tyres until I stop for a coffee to see how they’re faring, but if something doesn’t feel right with the tyres, I know straight away. For me the mark of a good sportsbike tyre is how quickly it warms up, grips and more importantly, the way it feels on the bike – there’s nothing worse than having no confidence in your tyres.
The Diablo Rosso III’s fitted to the bike are brand new and like any new tyre, need a few km to scrub in. Thankfully my Tuono has traction control and it was getting a bit of a workout as I was deliberately spinning the rear to have a bit of fun in the damp conditions, but it took no time at all the get some heat into the tyres and find grip – pretty impressive…
With the sun out and the corners drying it was time to have a play, I love the way the Diablo Rosso III’s feel in a straight line, it gives the bike a stable, well balanced, neutral feel and good rolling bump absorption. Leaning into a corner the Tuono rolls nicely onto its side, you can feel all the effort those clever Pirelli people have put into these tyres, it’s such a great profile for fast road riding, giving me plenty of feedback from the road as to what’s happening beneath me.
Driving out of the turn I can really wind up the gas and the rear tyre hooks-up well and gets the power down to the ground with plenty of side grip on offer, remaining planted and with no hint of squirming around, no doubt helped by the tuned structure of the tyre’s sidewall. Changing direction is easy with the race bred profile of the Rosso III’s and the Touno make it easier still with the wide bars and light weight.
Unfortunately, I never got a chance to ride in the full wet, but Pirelli claim the Diablo Rosso III’s have excellent wet weather grip due the high silica content compound and tread pattern, I can tell you though that they warmed up really quick on the cold damp morning.
It would also have been nice to take the tyres to the track, however, the feedback I got from my road ride tells me that they would make a great track tyre as well as a good all round sports tyre…
The Diablo Rosso III is obviously an evolution of the Rosso II and has been developed by Superbike legends such as World Superbike riders Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes and many others. With Pirelli having the niche on the World Superbike market, they have unlimited testing and those chaps in the white coats have produced something special.
The rear tyre is dual compound, which has a high percentage of silica, providing grip in all conditions especially when cranked over, plus the benefit of giving superior mileage for a performance style tyre. The lightning bolt tread pattern and racing profiles are inherited from the Diablo Supercorsa, which is Pirelli’s super sticky track tyre that has been developed from years of racetrack technology and testing.
Through racetrack development Pirelli engineers have patented the mixing process for the Diablo Rosso III and developed the correct compounds that have a high percentage of silica combined with latest generations of oils, resins and polymers.
The rear tyre, for example, is made up of 80 per cent high-grip compound on the side walls and a harder wearing 20 per cent in the centre for long haul freeway riding. This gives an excellent feel to the bike and offers great all-round riding stability, as well as giving you the option of taking your bike to the racetrack, without having to worry about changing to a stickier more track focused tyre, due to the superior side grip from the duel compounds.
The front tyre is made from a single compound, which has a silica content of 100 per cent. Pirelli engineers made the decision not to make the front tyre dual-compound like the rear, based on their scientific studies and on years of experience – they arrived at the conclusion that the single-compound solution on the front is the best choice, as it is the only one capable of offering the motorcyclist good quality feedback together with a high level of stability.
The profile of the front tyre is characterised by a multi-radius development, which improves handling, offering the motorcyclist immediate leaning into bends and at the same time giving the rider the option to change direction rapidly.
Compared with the Diablo Rosso II, the Rosso III profile is higher in the central part of the tyre and wider at the sides. This provides a larger contact area and makes the bike more stable while on a high lean angle. At the same time the height of the sidewall has been increased by about 3mm to favour greater flexibility of the sidewall in acceleration out of bends, with a great benefit in terms of traction.
The radial casings of the new Diablo Rosso III are very rigid to maintain their profile, this enables the tyre’s compound to grip the road surface. Very similar to that used in the Diablo Supercorsa, it is made of a high-performance Rayon. The density of the belt has also been adjusted to balance rigidity with the absorption properties of the roughness of asphalt, providing a better feeling of contact and reliability.
The tyre casing is capable of conserving its shape during high stress forces generated by acceleration under heavy load, this allows the tyres contact patch to keep its shape and provide maximum grip while driving off the turns.
Link International is the exclusive Australian importer and distributor of Pirelli tyres.
Front Sizes: 110/70-17, 120/60-17, 120/70-17
Rear Sizes: 150/60-17, 160/60-17, 180/55-17, 180/60-17, 190/50-17, 190/55-17, 200/55-17