Rossi has ALWAYS had a great distaste for Tobacco sponsorship, that is why this jump to Camel sponsorship is so ODD!
cliffnotes on this article from 2004 for those too lazy to read it all:
-Altadis currently sponsors the full factory Yamaha team of Valentino Rossi and Carlos Checa and also the Tech 3 “satellite” team of Marco Melandri and Norifumi Abe. With the signing of Rossi, Altadis was delighted, in spite of the uncomfortable fact that the wildly popular young Italian is publicly anti-tobacco
(here's some REALLY ironic information from 2004)
-When Camel was on the verge of replacing Repsol Honda as the prime sponsor for the HRC team, Rossi made it known that he would use the space on his leathers that he retained rights to for the purpose of carrying anti-tobacco slogans and that he would be outspoken in his opposition to tobacco advertising. That spooked Camel and sent them into the arms of the Pons Honda team
-you can be sure that Valentino will not break a lance in defense of tobacco sponsorship. He has been on an anti-smoking crusade from his 125cc days and once appeared on the podium wearing the colors of a tobacco mock-sponsor as a form of humorous protest. This was the kid who said he would never ride for a tobacco sponsor
(some more interesting info...hindsight is 20/20!)
-So, given Rossi’s convictions, why did he accept becoming poster boy for Gauloises? Elementary, my dear Watson: because it was the only way out of the clutches of mother Honda and into the upstart Yamaha team. Yamaha already had a deal signed with Altadis for 2004 and it was as tight as the French lawyers could make it. Sources reveal that Altadis now feel they were tricked into signing a one-year deal. Yamaha gave them strong options for 2005, virtually making it impossible for their place to be usurped by another commercial sponsor, but leaving it possible for Yamaha to simply opt to reserve naming-rights and the lion’s share of on-bike signage for themselves, something no one, in or out of Altadis, would have guessed.
While most people do still think Rossi may take the jump to F1 next year, this surprising switch to Camel may be an indication that he WON'T be doing that!...Everyone thought this whole sponsorship debate was over Rossi trying to ditch Gauloises BECAUSE it would interfere with a possible malboro sponsorship in F1, but it looks like THAT isn't the problem, because Camel is a bigger company than Gauloises and also a much bigger competitor to Marlboro...IMO, Rossi isn't going anywhere, why leave your kingdom in MotoGP to become a "average" F1 driver?