Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyre test

The Pirelli Diablo Rosso II is another tyre with a Diablo name. We went to Magny-Cours circuit and the roads around it to see how the Diablo it feels.


Pirelli Diablo Rosso II rear section. More durable compound in the centre, softer on the shoulder.

The Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tyre test rides were based at Magny-Cours circuit in deepest France and we had a chance to ride everything from aDucati Diavel on the cowshit’n’gravel spattered farm roads, to a full-Monty BMW S1000RR on the intimidatingly quick Magny-Cours Word superbike circuit and nobody was complaining about anything. Actually, as is Pirelli’s wont on these press occasions, the Italians insisted on keeping the tyre pressures on track at near road pressures (0.3 bar less in both front and rear) and there’s no way that the tyres could ever perform at their (track) best when running hard and hot.


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I have to be honest here. I’m having a hard time saying anything bad about the performance of Diablo Rosso II on eithercool roads or fast, dry track. Which suggests a couple of things. Firstly, the tyre is capable of providing more performance in dry conditions than a rider at my level can reasonably assess. And, secondly, I’d be happy to say that it’s a good tyre.

There are a few factors which help mitigate my bewilderment. The tyres did a solid morning of non-stop track sessions between two groups of riders and were changed at lunch to go through the same process again, so we were never really riding on anything but ‘new’ tyres. And secondly, the fact that the bikes we were on were mostly restricted to 100bhp means that it’s impossible to give the definitive word on how they would perform on 160bhp bikes. However, the couple of in demand full-power bikes – a BMW S1000RR and Honda Fireblade – survived non-stop use throughout the day, neither fired their riders into the gravel, 160-plus bhp or not.

Finally, we were unable to make any judgment on Pirelli’s claim that the new Diablo Rosso II performs better in the wet than the tyre it replaces. Pirelli development riders were at pains to point out that they spent time both in the ‘warm’ rain of southern Europe and ‘cold’ rain too. It’s a paradox of tyre launches that as a rider you feel that you should ‘hope’ for some rain but, when it comes down to it, all you really want is dry roads and a track to thrash around on…

The tyres are available now, priced around £230 a pair, the same as the tyres they replace. You can’t say fairer than that, can you?  www.pirelli.com

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