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Pirelli Rosso Corsa II – tyre review by Dale Sykes

Tester bio

dale sykes

Rider coach Dale Sykes

Name: Dale Sykes
Age: 40
Current bikes: K6 Suzuki GSXR1000 (track) / Gen 2 BMW S1000RR (road/track)

Dale has been riding bikes since he was 6 years old and took his bike test in 2000. He did his first trackday a few years later on his GSXR750 SRAD before moving on to a 2002 R1. Over the years, Dale has ridden a wide range of sports bikes on track, including Fireblades, R1s, GSXRs (K4, K6, K9, L5), 600s, 750s, the Gen 3 BMW and the new Big Bang R1. He made his racing debut in 2014 on his K6 and started coaching officially for Focused Events at the end of 2016. Since then his list of private clients has grown considerably and he is now available for freelance tuition.

Recently, Dale was given the opportunity to try the new Pirelli Rosso Corsa 2s; here are his thoughts on the new rubber.


Dale’s Rosso Corsa II review

pirelli invitation

Invitation letter from Pirelli

The Rosso Corsas are primarily designed for fast road riding with the occasional track day so I decided to fit them on my Gen2 BMW S1000RR, not my dedicated track bike, giving me the chance to fully test them in both environments. They arrived just before the first May bank holiday weekend so I fitted them and got out to put some road miles on them.

Road riding

312 enthusiastic road miles later, my honest opinion is that the Rosso Corsas are an exceptionally capable road tyre. They feel great from cold, soft and supple, not stiff & reluctant to turn in. Once up to temperature, they are just as unquestionably grippy as their racier Supercorsas. Using the dual compound, they have a harder strip running through the centre, preventing the early signs of fast wearing which causes tyres to square off with frequent road miles.

bmw-s1000rr

Dale’s BMW S1000RR

On track

Next up was a trackday at the newly resurfaced Silverstone GP with Focused Events. I am a rider coach and had clients and staff of Vines BWM to look after for the day, helping them build their confidence and pace. After leading the groups out for the compulsory sighting laps, I let the Rosso Corsas cool down to test them from cold without warmers. Again, they felt great from exiting pit lane and after steadily building the pace, they just felt more and more planted and grippy.

new front

Freshly fitted Rosso Corsa II

Fast group pace

Later in the day, I had a client in the fast group who wanted some fairly quick laps so I took the opportunity to try the tyres with warmers. Tyre pressures checked, we both started the sessions on tyres up to temperature. Once in clear track space and pushing on the limit, the tyres held firm with the only loss of traction indicated by the flashing of the traction light (with the bike in slick mode) as I accelerated hard out of Copse and the other hard acceleration corners. With TC off, they slide progressively, giving plenty of feedback and feel to tell you to roll off, no sudden loss of grip or snatching.

rear wear

Rear tyre wear after track sessions

Under hard braking, the front Rosso Corsa pushes into the tarmac and feels planted with plenty of feedback and confidence.

After 267 miles on track, the tyre wear was probably exactly what anyone would expect for a road tyre being abused and pushed beyond its primary function; after all, road tyres aim to do all things fairly well rather than being perfect on track like a dedicated race tyre.

Summary

I believe the Pirelli Rosso Corsas are the perfect road tyres which are more than capable of running 2 or 3 trackdays at novice, inters, or even right up to fast group pace. They aren’t a slick or a race tyre but that isn’t what they are intended to be. They are tyres which are capable of giving you more grip and feedback than a lot of others on the market under lots of different circumstances: from cold; on the road; on track at steady pace; & when being pushed hard.

The only condition I’ve not tried them in is the wet. Supercorsas are basically a slick tyre with some cursory cuts to make them road-legal and I find them difficult in wet conditions, but the Rosso Corsas are dual compound with a more defined rain tread which should make them stronger and the better choice for a road tyre with occasional track use.

Front tyre wear after track sessions

 

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