First impression: 2018 Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II

Checking in from Kyalami with our first impressions of Pirelli's new fast road tyre

First impression: 2018 Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II

We’ve just finished testing Pirelli’s new Diablo Rosso Corsa II fast road and trackday tyre at Kyalami. After three sessions, and a lap that started dry and ended in a deluge, we can share our initial impressions ahead of the main review that we’ll be posting along with photos very soon.

The Diablo Rosso Corsa II sits just below the Supercorsa in the Pirelli hierarchy and is pitched as a fast road tyre that’s bang up for a trackday. The rear tyre has three compounds from its centre to its edge and, as a first for Pirelli, the front is dual compound. The aim, of course, is good grip where you need it along with decent wear qualities.

Having been impressed with the tyres during the road ride out in the wilds near Kruger National Park yesterday, the fast warm-up and consistent feel became equally apparent on this incredible South African race circuit. Feel is something Pirelli regularly mentioned throughout the event and it was clear from the first turn, even on cold rubber, that the Italian firm has nailed it.

Feedback from the front-end and the speed of turn-in is very similar to a Supercorsa and I’d be as bold as to suggest that in a blind test few racers below national level would be able to pick a winner; the feedback and grip really is that good. One of the standout features for me was the confidence to trail-brake deep into a corner. Dragging the bike back to an almost-missed apex just got easier with every lap.

Grip and feel from the tri-compound rear is also excellent and I only noticed the traction control kick in a handful of times on the Panigale V4, R1 and GSX-R1000. And while I’m no fan of rider aids (I’m over 40, go figure) reaching the limit driving off slow turns would take a fair bit of time and bottle without the reassurance of traction control — you’re a long way over and driving hard before you get any assistance.

The best bit for me though is that for everyday riders who want to just rock up and ride, without the need for a van loaded with paddock stands and tyre warmers, the Diablo Rosso Corsa II delivers performance with only the slightest compromise over a treaded race tyre.

You can read more in the full report coming soon.