Pirelli Diablo Corsa III tyre review

Pirelli's new mixed-compound Diablos should give the best of both worlds. Whitham gives 'em the berries round his favourite twisties - Monza

They say: "Allows an easy and fully safe achievement of the highest performances" Pirelli
We say: "A tyre test, you say? At Monza, you say? I don't care what they can do, I'm there!" James Whitham

We've all walked round a race paddock and seen part-worn tyres stacked up at the back of a van with a home-made 'for sale' sign propped against them. You don't know what the numbers on the tyres' sidewalls mean, but you've seen the tread pattern before and they've only done a few laps. They've got to be good value, right? Not necessarily.

The qualities needed from a race tyre are very different from the ones that make a good road tyre. What you need from a race tyre is stability under hard braking, side grip mid-corner, traction when you open the throttle and sharp steering. A road tyre on the other hand must be more versatile. It needs high speed stability, it must work adequately from cold and through a much wider heat range, and cover a greater mileage before needing replacement.

In an attempt to address both needs, and improve on their already excellent Diablo Corsa, Pirelli have developed the Diablo Corsa III. The 'III' in the name refers to the fact that the tyres have three compound zones. The middle 30 degrees or so is the same compound as the old Corsa, the outside 30 degrees on either side is around 15 per cent softer. The idea is the softer outside portions give grip when you need it, while the firmer middle means the tyres should do the same mileage as most other sports tyres. Pirelli claims 3000 miles or so depending on how many track days you do.

The Corsa III is also the control tyre in the European Superstock Cup, run at WSB meetings on essentially stock 600cc sports bikes, and lap times in the series have come down by about a second since the introduction of this new rubber.

Okay, that's the technical stuff done. What are they like to ride? 

I did loads of laps around the stunning Monza circuit on four bikes - a GSX-R1000, an R1, an R6 and a Ducati 749R - to give the tyres a fair test, and I must say I was impressed whatever machine I was on.

Braking stability - and we're talking about braking from 170-plus mph to less than 40mph - was excellent. Turn-in was slightly vague when we ran road pressures (around 39psi) but got better when lowered to 30-ish.

Mid-corner grip remained good with either pressure, and traction when you opened the throttle peaked after about three laps, then dropped a bit and remained constant for as long as you kept going round. The couple of power slides I did get were predictable and easily controlled by easing off the gas.

We never had any wet weather to ride in but the soft rubber on the edges should give reasonable grip if you get caught out in the rain.

Overall the new Diablo Corsa III could be a good bet for your next set of boots, especially if the type of
riding you do is fairly varied. I don't think you would be disappointed.

In the shops now from about £200  a pair, Diablo Corsa IIIs are available in 120/65-17 and 120/70-17 fronts, and 180/55-17, 190/50-17 and 190/55-17 rears.