The winger needed no second invitation and screamed over from the 22 for his seventh try in eight starts against Italy.
Matteo Minozzi's 10th-minute try did cut the deficit to seven points but Conor O'Shea's visitors did not trouble the scorers again until Mattia Bellini's late consolation.
Speaking to reporters at Wales's training base on Wednesday, Gatland said North suffered a hip-flexor injury during the 37-27 defeat against Ireland last month and was treated by medical staff before returning to Northampton.
"Obviously we'll want to enjoy that and everyone here is motivated for a big, big game".
"To make that many changes and win comfortably was pleasing". But we achieved what we wanted to do and we have our destiny in our own hands next week.
Scarlets centre Hadleigh Parkes enjoyed a fine game, scoring one try and having another disallowed as Wales claimed a solid bonus-point win which moves them into second-place in the table with one game left at home against France next Saturday.
Wales would be denied a bonus-point clinching fourth try as TMO Marius Jonker decided he could not see a clear grounding as Parkes powered over from close range.
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Italy captain Sergio Parisse says his team will take inspiration from their under-20s when they face Wales at the Principality Stadium on Sunday.
Wales averaged 46 points a time in their last four games against Italy, and they made a flying start by posting two converted tries during the opening six minutes.
Italy bounced back nearly immediately after their early double setback with the excellent fullback Matteo Minozzi crossing for his third try of the Championship.
"It is a huge honour to be given this opportunity, and I am looking forward to it".
On the stroke of the interval, Liam Williams - in what proved his final act of the game - was issued a yellow card for a high tackle on Minozzi.
"I thought the yellow card was fair".
"We are here for him", Gatland said.
However, Wales quickly made light of the man-disadvantage as it extended the lead just three minutes into the second half.
"It wasn't the plan to only play him for 40 minutes but if there was another incident with a second yellow and red card, it'd have put us under pressure".