It was the last decisive moment of the race for the Italian as he cruised to the finish line, his first win since Spain halting a run of momentum that had seen Melandri reel him in over the last four rounds.
Having lost the lead to Biaggi, Sykes's lap times fell away alarmingly over the final third of the race, the Kawasaki rider being reeled in by the feuding Laverty and Davies.
With Sykes losing a second a lap, Laverty and Davies quickly swallowed him up to resume their battle, this time for second position. In the end Laverty got the better of the reigning World Supersport Champion, the result marking Aprilia's first ever 1-2-3 finish at WSBK level.
Despite dropping back in the closing stages, Sykes finished fourth, while Melandri's failure to finish means he has clawed back ground in his title quest, the margin to the front down to 34.5 points.
With several top riders already out, the German circuit claimed another high-profile victim late on when Loris Baz dramatically crashed out just three laps from home, the Frenchman throwing away a potential top five finish.
His misfortune duly promoted an inspired Leon Camier into the top five, the FIXI Crescent Suzuki rider putting in a charging performance from the back of the field after failing to make it out for his seventh place starting position before the warm-up lap.
Another rider to make big gains from a lowly starting position, Sylvain Guintoli finished the race in sixth place, ahead of Leon Haslam, who defied his painful shoulder to complete a solid result in seventh place.
Equalling his best finish of the season, Lorenzo Zanetti followed PATA Ducati team-mate Guintoli in eighth, heading off Ayrton Badovini and Hiroshi Aoyama in ninth and tenth positions.
Having failed to get any of its three riders into Superpole, Effenbert Liberty Ducati at least had the satisfaction of seeing the trio reaching the top 15 in the race, Maxime Berger going 11th, Lorenzo Lanzi
14th and Brett McCormick 15th, the latter scoring his first point in WSBK.
Between them, Checa recovered from his early tumble to finish in 12th – just 0.125secs off Berger -, while John Hopkins was 13th.