Fabio Quartararo approaches this weekend’s Catalonia MotoGP his mind now free to focus on the defence of his world title after ending speculation over his future. The first Frenchman to be crowned MotoGP world champion announced on the eve of this ninth round of the season that he had nailed his fortunes to Yamaha for a further two years. But when the news was announced on Thursday, he conceded it was “a big decision” and one that he had taken time to arrive at, after chats with other manufacturers. “As you can imagine, we were not talking only to Yamaha, and I took that much time because at one stage my head was going to one side,” he disclosed. Assurances from his Japanese employers on improved engine performance and an upturn in results with a win in Portugal helped the 23-year-old decide to stay. Quartararo finished second to Francesco Bagnaia in Italy last Sunday after setting off in sixth in a performance he described as “the best of my career”. That put the 2020 Catalunya winner eight points clear of Aleix Espargaro, who won in Argentina and made the podium in the next four races. On home tarmac the Aprilia rider is hoping to make a dent in Quartararo’s slender advantage. “We’ll see if we can’t find a little something extra and fight it out for victory” said Espargaro, who is part of a nine-strong battalion of Spaniards on the MotoGP grid.