So mate and I played our first game today.
What is the sort of game times people are getting on 2 players after several plays?
could we get it down to a smooth hour and a half?
Depends on what you consider game time.
If you consider "From opening the box for setup to closing the box after cleanup" then it would only be likely if you have a very convenient storage solution, particularly with game trays for the Upgrade Tiles.
I have a pretty well optimized solution (seperate boxes per Race, trays and so on, cubeholder frames for the player sheets, etc.) and take about 20-30 minutes for setup and race selection (incl. player setup).
Otherwise it mostly depends on players playstyles. Decisive and/or casual player will take about 20 Minutes of actual playtime per player throughout the game, more competitive AND analysis prone players can take over 3 times that on a regular basis.