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Tom Sykes has been awarded victory in the first World Superbike race of the day at the Nurburgring after a huge accident for Jonathan Rea and Leon Camier forced a red flag stoppage with just over a lap to go.

Sykes, who had led from the opening lap, had just been overtaken by Marco Melandri as the race entered its penultimate lap, but two separate crashes for Rea and Camier at turn nine would force out the red flags.

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A dramatic conclusion for Rea and Camier, who fell after hitting oil deposited by Federico Sandi's expired Pedercini Kawasaki, the pair crashed heavily into the barriers but were seen to be conscious and moving afterwards.

With the results counted back to the end of lap 18 - moments before Melandri made his pass -, the ill-timed conclusion would ultimately prove frustrating for the Italian having spent much of his race biding his time behind Sykes before launching an attack with just two laps remaining.

Getting the jump on slow-starting pole sitter Ayrton Badovini, Melandri had led into the first bend, but was shuffled back down to second place by a charging Sykes in the end of the opening lap.

Even so, the pair, together with the fast-starting Chaz Davies and Jonathan Rea, would form a four-strong lead group that would circulate in tandem for the opening half of the race, well ahead of a chasing pack led by series leader Sylvain Guintoli and Eugene Laverty, though the latter would see his hopes of a strong finish ruined on lap four when he low-sided off.

Up front there would be little movement until a small mistake by Melandri at turn ten on lap 13 would allow Davies to get in front into second position for the first time.

However, the Welshman couldn't take full advantage and found himself bumped down to third position again on lap 15 when Melandri planted a robust pass through the NGK Chicane.

With Sykes unable to break the feuding BMWs, it was increasingly evident that Melandri would attempt to make a pass for the win in the final couple of laps. And so it proved, Melandri lining Sykes up at the start of lap 19 to pass into the first bend and immediately put a gap between himself and the Kawasaki rider.

Seemingly on course to score BMW's long-awaited first victory (and podium) around its home circuit, Melandri's hopes would be dashed by the drama unfolding behind.

Beginning with tail-ender Sandi's Pedercini Kawasaki blowing up on the run up to the Schumacher S, when the leaders came around to the bend on the next lap, the top three would make it through but Rea would be sent down at high-speed, man and machine catapulting into the barriers.

Seconds later, Camier would also barrell through the gravel trap as well, his Suzuki even gathering enough momentum to vault the barriers. Both riders have been taken to the medical centre for checks, but were seen to be moving immediately after the crashes.

The spectacular accidents would subsequently prompt a race-ending red flag, with the results being counted back to the last full lap.

It meant Sykes would be awarded the win, ahead of a disappointed Melandri, while Davies rounded out the top three for his fourth podium finish of the season.

With Rea and Camier - who had been running fourth and sixth - removed from the results, Guintoli was awarded fourth position, a somewhat fortuitous result that ensures he retains the series lead, albeit by just a single point now from Sykes.

Also benefitting from the accidents ahead, Davide Giugliano and Michel Fabrizio recovered from their respective 14th and 13th place starting positions to claim fifth and sixth, ahead of Leon Haslam on the sole remaining PATA Honda.

Behind him, Silverstone podium winner Jules Cluzel was eighth, with Badovini coming home ninth having been unable to make the most of his pole position in dry conditions. His Alstare Ducati team-mate Carlos Checa rounded out the top ten.

Of the remaining point-scorers, Mark Aitchison was a solid 11th place, ahead of wild-card riders Matej Smrz and Markus Reiterberger, the pair scoring points on their WSBK debuts. Vittorio Iannuzzo picked up two points for 14th, while Laverty's decision to return to the race two laps down was rewarded with a single point in 15th.

Loris Baz, who was due to get underway in fourth, didn't start the race after a heavy crash in morning warm-up.