The battle of the modern-day sport tires is in full force. Various manufacturers have been developing sport-oriented tires and all seem to have chosen to release their final products early this year. So when Pirelli set out to release its own, the company used trickled-down data and technology from its endeavors as the spec-tire manufacturer for World Superbike to create the best sport tire possible. The result? The Diablo Rosso III.
Having spent the past 12 years providing tires for the World Superbike Championship, Pirelli made it a point to develop the Rosso III with the same technologies and features that are found in its own racing tires. Of course, with a company motto, “We sell what we race, we race what we sell,” this holds true. Using these racing technologies, the Rosso III has been developed to improve racetrack handling as well as upgrade both wet and dry performance for everyday users.
Taken directly from the racing tires, the Rosso III uses a new profile to gain a claimed quicker handling. The multi-radius design features an increased profile height and width of the tire; this not only allows for faster changes of direction but also stability at maximum lean. The Rosso III front tire also boasts a 3mm-larger sidewall designed to increase grip under acceleration. With balance in mind, Pirelli designed the rear tire with similar profile changes to allow the tires to work in synchronization with each other.
The Rosso III also features the distinctive “flash” tread pattern found on Pirelli’s DOT race tires. Added to the “flash” are additional grooves on each side of the tire for extra water drainage. Over the Rosso II, however, the tires have 9.5 percent fewer grooves on the front tire and 7.5 percent fewer grooves on the rear tire. Pirelli claims this allows more rubber to be in touch with the ground, resulting in more grip—a whole 30 percent more.
More improvements come to the Rosso III in the form of new compounds. The front tire is constructed of a single 100 percent silica compound claimed to improve warm-up time and grip in all riding temperatures. The rear tire promotes a unique bi-compound construction to ensure both performance and longevity. Each side of the tire contains a 100 percent silica compound, while the remaining center portion of the tire is made of a lesser 70 percent silica compound. This combination allows the rear tire to have the performance on each edge but also achieve straight-line stability and 30 percent more mileage for everyday users.
Pirelli invited us to try out the new Diablo Rosso III at the Motorland Aragon Circuit in Spain. After watching the World Superbike riders battle it out for two days, we were jumping at the chance to get on track and put Pirelli’s technology to test.
The Diablo Rosso III made a immediate impression on us with its quick warm-up time. Being a brand-new tire on a chilly day didn’t exactly give us the confidence to hunt for a lap record out of the gate. But after two laps, the tire had managed to break in, develop heat, and give us confidence as we increased our speed.
Pirelli’s claims of improving handling speeds were everything but deception. The taller, more aggressive profile made the motorcycle yearn to be tipped into the corner faster and faster, though it wasn’t an intimidating tip-in speed as it fell into the corner with stability. Transitions were where the profile of the tire really shined. The Rosso III impressed with its ability to slice from one side of the tire to the other without the moment of uneasiness that’s common with most street-oriented sport tires.
The Rosso III’s grip performance was actually one of its strongest suits, especially from the rear tire. Even under the hardest acceleration we could manage, the amount of grip and feedback were making us question if it really was a street tire. “Stiff” is certainly a word to describe the rear tire but not in a negative way. The tire seemed to flex just enough to provide grip but not enough to create a pumping feeling from the rear end of the motorcycle.
The front tire’s story is similar but not quite at the same level. The Rosso III front tire had grip to manage braking and cornering but seemed to lack in feel. At full lean the tire failed to give feedback for us to have complete trust in it. More than once, the tire lost its traction without any warning, only further pushing away confidence from the front end of the motorcycle. Do remember, however, it is a street-oriented tire. While it may have come from the same technologies as Pirelli’s full-blown racing tires, it isn’t meant to chase lap records.
As the rain began to fall on our day at the Motorland Aragon Circuit, we were somewhat nervous to attack the wet conditions—not that we were skeptical of Pirelli’s claims of wet-weather performance but because of the vague feeling from the front tire we had already experienced in the dry. Fortunately, the rear tire continued to excel in the area of traction and feedback, giving us everything we needed to know about how the rear of the motorcycle was working. The front tire’s issues seemed to disappear in the wet conditions. Because we weren’t ever riding at full lean, the feedback issues had worked themselves out and ultimately proved that the Rosso III works well in wet conditions.
The new Diablo Rosso III has proven to work well as an all-condition tire as Pirelli had claimed. The tire is more than capable to hit a local trackday, but blurring-fast laps may be out of the question. The Rosso III is certainly one to look at if you are in the sport-tire market.
The Diablo Rosso III is made in various sizes to fit the majority of popular sportbikes.
Watch the first ride review here: