I agree tractor beam 2 or 3 needs the hold to be beefed up. Tractor beam 1 should still do more against epte1 though, especially if you have more points in gravitons then the target has in inertial dampers then maybe it will be more worth it to slot higher epte more instead of just having epte1 immune to everything. Also you should need more then epte1 to move around in grav well.
Is it my imagination or is it no longer possible to have engine batteries and Deuterium Tanks on escorts? And I have never seen an escort have problems keeping up with cruisers.
I'm pretty sure you can but most use a subspace field mod so only 1 battery. Cruisers have more device slots but lower impulse modifier and worse inertia, also many of them can't use attack pattern omega for another speed buff, also the ones that can slot it can only slot 1 copy so need aux2battery or attack pattern doffs to use it as often as an escort can.
The main reason why you won't notice all that much speed difference though is because of EPTE, most likely both the escort and cruiser are running it, and keeping it up 100% of time, all the other speed buffs like omega and deutrium only last a short time so don't make nearly as much of a difference as the overpowered epte.