I'll start with the latter first, which is kicking a dead horse I know. Not to mention it's been mentioned ad nauseam, so I'm not holding my breath for any meaningful changes.
The AI needs to go back to school. If nothing else, if there is only one real player in a match, they should follow your commands. They're almost worse than real people in that they follow their own program (pun intended) and have no concept of strategy. The opposing team is usually nothing more than a heal ball, and the blue team are just random fkwits.
As for the orbit timer, I'm willing to bet that 99% of the time as soon as getting into a match, no other player characters will join, so why maintain a long timer? Let all the NPCs join, then just start the match after their illogical ship selection.