Perhaps, in the spirit of giving something to the players AND giving something to the AI in return, if a player takes what starting ship one wants then the AI sticks with random unlocks.
Conversely, if the player picks a specific ship...
* Diff 1 or 2, the AI picks the ship most vulnerable to the player pick.
* Diff 3 to 7, picks a random one.
* Diff 8, picks a non vulnerable ship.
* Diff 9 picks a hard counter.
* Diff 10 AI gets hard counter and a H/K that is invulnerable to everything but the player pick, ambushing any fleet that dares include that ship through the nearest AI controlled planet wormhole like Freddie Kreuger.